What are the indicators of potential vision issues by age group?
Although children with a family history of childhood vision problems are more likely to have eye problems, all parents should know the warning signs of vision problems. It’s helpful to know what is normal for each age group and what are the warning signs that should prompt a visit to your child’s pediatrician.
Babies Under 1 Year of Age
Babies older than 3 months should be able to follow or “track” an object, like a toy or ball, with their eyes as it moves across their field of vision. If your baby can’t make steady eye contact by this time or seems unable to see, let your child’s doctor know immediately.
Before 4 months most baby’s eyes occasionally look misaligned (strabismus). However, after 4 months of age inward crossing or outward drifting that occurs regularly is usually abnormal. If one of these is present, let your child’s doctor know.
If your child’s eyes become misaligned, let your child’s doctor know right away. However, vision problems such as a “lazy eye” (amblyopia) may have no warning signs, and your child may not complain of vision problems. Therefore it’s important at this time to have your child’s vision checked. There are special tests to check your child’s vision even if he or she cannot yet read.
If you notice any one of the following, please let your child’s doctor know immediately:
- Eyes that are misaligned (look crossed, turn out, or don’t focus together)
- White or grayish-white color in the pupil
- Eyes that flutter quickly from side to side or up and down
- Bulging eye(s)
- Child often complains of eye pain, itchiness, or discomfort
- Redness in either eye that doesn’t go away in a few days
- Pus or crust in either eye
- Eyes that are always watery
- Drooping eyelid(s)
- Child rubs or squints eyes often
- Eyes that are always sensitive to light
- Any change in the eyes from how they usually look
Please note that the lists shown below are not recommendations of BCF nor is this list all-inclusive but is representative of websites that offer information. The Blind Children’s Fund always recommends that you use information only from knowledgeable and well-recognized sources since there are many scam-types of programs now proliferating the Internet.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology (a professional association website): http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/babies-children-teenagers-eye-health/vision-development.cfm
- American Optometric Association (a professional association website): http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/good-vision-throughout-life/childrens-vision/infant-vision-birth-to-24-months-of-age?sso=y#1
- American Academy of Pediatrics (a professional association website): http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Babys-Vision-Development.aspx
- American Academy of Pediatrics (a professional association website): http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/eyes/Pages/Warning-Signs-of-Vison-Problems-in-Children.aspx