Reasons Kids Need to See an Ophthalmologist Too


Simple vision screenings at an eye doctor don’t catch everything that can be wrong with a child’s eyesight. If vision problems go undiagnosed, they can hinder a child’s social development and learning.

An ophthalmologist can do more than just look at vision problems and can treat different eye conditions such as juvenile glaucoma, blocked tear ducts, cataracts and persistent eye infections.

Comprehensive Eye Exam Versus Vision Screenings

The normal vision screening with the big E chart does do an important job of testing visual activity but vision problems aren’t always limited to farsightedness and nearsightedness.

A comprehensive eye exam with an ophthalmologist can check your child for color blindness, poor visual perception, astigmatism, poor hand-eye coordination, and how the eyes are working together for tracking and focusing.

Effects of Undiagnosed Vision Problems

If you are a small child and don’t know how your eyes are supposed to work and can’t focus on the words on a page then all you know is that you aren’t able to do what a grown-up is asking you to do, even when your peers are doing it. If you aren’t able to concentrate then you can start to think that learning isn’t fun, or you aren’t smart enough to do it.

About 80% of learning in school is visual because kids spend a lot of time studying textbooks, writing, and reading the board. This can mean that an undiagnosed vision problem will put a roadblock in a child’s learning. Many children with vision problems can be misdiagnosed with a learning disability instead.

Symptoms to See an Ophthalmologist

Symptoms to watch out for in your child are a lazy eye, eyes turned outward or cross, difficulty with reading comprehension, shortened attention span, difficulty completing schoolwork, frequent headaches, a habit of covering one eye, and frequent eye rubbing or blinking.

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