Low Grades? Bad Behavior? It Might be Your Child’s Eyes

Does your child act out or not do well in school? It might be because he or she can’t see well. Find out the signs of vision problems in kids and how you can help your children succeed.

February 16, 2016 | HF Healthy Living Team

Did you know that one in four kids in the U.S. needs glasses by the time they start high school? Far fewer get them.

Kids who have trouble seeing also have trouble reading and learning. They may struggle to pay attention in school, too. More often than you might think, kids end up with poor grades or are told that they have a behavior condition, such as ADHD, when the problem is their eyes.

Kids don’t always know that their vision is poor. Or they might be too young to tell you. If your child struggles in school, it may be because he or she can’t see well.

Signs of Vision Problems in Kids

There are ways to tell if your child has problems seeing. If you spot one or more of these signs, your child may need an eye test:

Sitting close to the TV. He or she may not be able to see it.

Kids sitting close to TV
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Rubbing his or her eyes. You child may be tired, but he or she may also be trying to see more clearly.

Kids rubbing eyes alot
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Headaches, stomachaches, and hiding from light are signs of light sensitivity, a type of vision problem.

Kids have headaches and stomachaches
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Closing one eye or moving head to the side to read. Your child’s eyes may not be working together the way they should be.

Closing one eye and side reading
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Low grades or poor reading. Your child may not be able to see the board at school or the words on the page.

Not able to see board at achool
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There are many other signs of poor vision in kids. If you suspect that your child has eye problems, take him or her for an eye exam.

Get an Eye Exam

Your child should get his or her eyes checked before age one, at age three, when starting school, and every two years after that. If your child has any vision problems, he or she should get an eye exam every year or as directed by a doctor.

If your child needs an eye test, there are lots of ways to get one.

You can get a free eye exam for your baby if he or she is between six and 12 months old through InfantSEE. Find an InfantSEE provider here.

Health insurance plans like Medicaid and Child Health Plus cover eye exams for kids at no out-of-pocket cost to members. If your child needs a health plan, you may be able to enroll in one of these insurance programs at any time.

New York City public schools require eye tests for children from pre-K through fifth grade. If your child’s school offers eye exams, make sure he or she gets one. If your child needs glasses, they may be provided at no cost to you through a school program.

Do you have a pair of glasses that you don’t use? Recycle them at these places in New York City!


© 2016 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

“Eyeglass Recycling,” Lions Club International. Accessed October 27, 2015. https://www.lionsclubs.org/en/blog/lions-eyeglass-recycling-in-your-community

“Free Eye Exams and Eyeglasses,” All About Vision. October 2015. http://www.allaboutvision.com/eye-exam/free-exam.htm

“Kids Who Can’t See Can’t Learn,” The New York Times. May 15, 2015.

“Mayor de Blasio Announces Partnership with Warby Parker to Provide Free Eyeglasses to Students at Community Schools,” City of New York. June 24, 2015. http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/436-15/mayor-de-blasio-partnership-warby-parker-provide-free-eyeglasses-students-at#/0

“School-aged Vision: 6 to 18 Years of Age,” American Optometric Association. Accessed October 27, 2015. http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/good-vision-throughout-life/childrens-vision/school-aged-vision-6-to-18-years-of-age?sso=y

“Slideshow: Signs of Children’s Vision Problems,” All About Vision. October 2014. http://www.allaboutvision.com/parents/slideshow-warning-signs.htm

“Vision Screening,” The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Accessed October 27, 2015. http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/vision-screening.page

“Your Child’s Vision,” Kids Health. June 2014. http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/eyes/vision.html

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