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8 Signs Your Child May Need Glasses

8 Signs Your Child May Need Glasses


Are you concerned that your child is having a hard time seeing? Do you think that maybe your child needs glasses? When my older son was six, we brought him in for an eye exam and found out that he needed glasses. Neither my husband or I wear glasses, so this was a huge surprise to us. Also, we had never been told to have his eyes checked. Nevertheless, we were handed a prescription from the optometrist (eye doctor) and sent to pick out glasses.

Shopping for kids glasses

Do you know what isn’t an easy task? Finding glasses for a six-year-old boy. Our local eyeglass store doesn’t carry a huge selection of children’s glasses. And kids have different sized heads and different preferences for colors and styles, so this limits the options even more. Eyeglass stores can vary a lot in price, so it doesn’t hurt to shop around. Also, check out online stores such as Zenni OpticalJonas Paul Eyewear, or LensCrafters. You can find a much larger selection online.

Have an extra pair

Just a tip from someone who has been there… It might be a good idea to pick up an extra pair of glasses, particularly if your child’s eyes are really bad. There is a good possibility that your child’s glasses will end up broken. A dog may chew them up. Or your younger son may throw them in the yard, and you might just run over them with the lawnmower. Not that I would know.

Sports glasses

Does your child play sports? If yes, you may want to get a pair of glasses that are appropriate for whatever sports they play. Ask your child’s optometrist if it is necessary for them to wear their glasses when playing sports. My son can see well enough without his glasses to play sports, but many children cannot. You may need prescription ski goggles or swim goggles, or glasses for soccer, baseball, football, etc. Check out A Sight For Sporteyes for prescription (and nonprescription) sports glasses.

Sunglasses Girl wearing sunglasses

Sunglasses are super important. They protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays just like sunscreen does. Sunglasses also can protect your eyes from long-term damage such as developing cataracts or conditions that can cause blindness. If your child needs prescription glasses, they will likely need prescription sunglasses. Again, talk to your child’s optometrist for recommendations regarding sunglasses. When selecting sunglasses, the lenses should block out 99-100% of all UVA and UVB rays. Check out Babiators for adorable non-prescription sunglasses for babies on up and Sport RX for prescription shades (along with kids glasses and sports glasses!).

A word about contacts

Are you wondering about whether contacts may be an option for your child? You might not know this, but kids of all ages can wear contacts. However, whether they are right for your child has a lot more to do with maturity and responsibility. Contacts may be particularly helpful if your child plays contact sports. Your eye care practitioner will be the best person to talk to about whether contacts are an option for your child. Contacts have to be prescribed, just like your glasses prescription.

Vision screenings

Your child will likely also get a vision screening at their preschool screening and then starting in kindergarten (or sooner, depending on your child’s situation). A nurse or someone who is trained to perform vision screenings will do the screening. The results may indicate that further follow up may be needed. Also, sometimes children will not or cannot cooperate to complete the screening, in which case they will be referred to an optometrist.

Eye exams

How often does your child need an eye exam? Your child’s first eye exam should happen within the first few days after birth. Usually, the pediatrician or family practice practitioner that does the initial exam on your child will do the eye exam. Even though it is part of the routine newborn exam, you may not notice when the exam is being performed. Also, if your child was premature or they have developmental concerns or other medical issues then it will be important for your baby to see an eye doctor. After that initial eye exam, the American Optometric Association recommends that children have a thorough eye exam at six months old, three years old, before first grade and then every two years (or annually if recommended) after that. See the American Optometric Association guidelines for more information.

My experience is that the six-month-old and three-year-old eye exams happen at the pediatrician’s office. Unless you have a pediatric optometrist in your city or your child has risk factors that would warrant an earlier visit to a pediatric optometrist, it is unlikely that your child will see an optometrist before four or five years of age. This is the age that many optometrists start seeing patients.

Check out the signs that are listed below. If you have questions or concerns make an appointment with your optometrist. If you are unsure who your child should see, ask your child’s doctor and they can make a referral for you.

 Watch for these eight signs that your child may need glasses:

  1. Your child sits unnaturally close to the TV. Or they have the tablet inches from their nose.
  2. Squinting. You find them squinting or only using one eye while watching the TV, using the tablet or while reading.
  3. Eye rubbing. Is your child rubbing their eyes a lot? This may be a sign that their eyes are tired from all of the extra work they are doing in order to see.
  4. Headaches. Does your child get frequent headaches? Some kids are prone to headaches more often than others, the same as adults, but this can also be a sign of eyesight issues.
  5. Hurting eyes. Your child is frequently complaining that their eyes hurt.
  6. Trouble in school. Maybe your child isn’t participating. Or they are getting in trouble often, or they just aren’t doing well. Again, having trouble in school could be a symptom of many different things. But if your child is having trouble in school, and they are having other symptoms of possible eye issues, have it checked out.
  7. Homework or reading concerns. You notice that outside of school your child is having trouble with their homework or is often losing their place while reading.
  8. Complaining about bright light. Your child is complaining that bright lights bother their eyes.

To conclude, this is in no way an all-inclusive list, and obviously, some of the above signs can be an indication of other problems or no problems. But if you have concerns about your child’s vision and they have never seen an optometrist, or it has been awhile since your child has seen one, it might be time to schedule an appointment!Your child has to live with their eyes for a long time (we hope!!!). Take care of them!


If you have questions or comments I would be glad to hear them! Leave a comment below or email me here.


Quick disclaimer: I am not an affiliate of any of the above links or am I getting paid for any of them. I just stuck them in to help you out! 🙂


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About The Author


I’m Anne, a mama, certified lactation specialist and registered nurse, and I am so glad to be able to share my blog with you. I have been working with moms and babies for years as a maternal-child public health nurse. I created The New Mama Nurse because I want to help mamas on their personal health and wellness journey. I want you to be able to find relevant, helpful and up-to-date information so you are empowered to make informed decisions for you and your family. If you have a topic that you would like me to write about please email or comment and I will do my best to respond in a timely manner.  If you want to learn more about me or this blog check out my about me page.

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