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7 Signs that Your Child Might Need Glasses

Medically reviewed by Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO · Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated May 19, 2021

    7 Signs that Your Child Might Need Glasses

    During your child’s first 7 to 8 years of life, their brain and eyes are still learning to work together. It means that at this point, the visual system is still developing. And spotting visual problems during this period can help reduce the risk of permanent vision problems through corrective eyewear. What are the signs that your child might need glasses?

    How do eyeglasses help?

    Before we explain the common signs that your child may need corrective eyewear, let’s first understand how eyeglasses help.

    Children might need to wear them for:

    • Vision improvement
    • Protection if they have low vision in one eye
    • Lazy or amblyopic eye (eyeglasses help strengthen the vision of the amblyopic eye)
    • Crossed-eyes (eyeglasses help improve eye alignment)

    Signs that your child might need glasses

    If you notice your child doing the following frequently, it’s time to bring them to their doctor. The physician will check their eye health and ascertain if they are in need of corrective eyeglasses.


    Remember how we squint when we don’t see things clearly? Kids do that, too, especially when they have blurry vision. Experts explain that squinting improves focus and clarity, but only temporarily.

    Squinting may indicate a refractive error, a condition wherein the light cannot focus on the retina because of the eye shape. Refractive errors include astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness.

    Leaning too close to the screen or book

    One of the most observable signs that your child might need glasses is when they sit too close to the TV or lean too much towards their books or gadget screens.

    They probably do this because they cannot read or see clearly unless the book or screen is close to their eyes, which is a classic sign of nearsightedness or myopia.

    does my child really need glasses

    Tilting their head

    If you find yourself asking, does my child really need glasses?, take note of their head movement. Tilting to see well can be a sign of a vision problem, like:

    • Ptosis or drooping eyelid – It’s a condition wherein one or both of the upper eyelids are lower than they should be. The eyelids then can reduce the line of vision, and the child tilts their head to see past the eyelid.
    • Strabismus – This is a condition where the eyes are not aligned properly. Children tilt their head to line up the eyes and use them together.
    • Double vision- In some cases, children experience double vision when they look down or turn to a particular direction; tilting reduces double vision and helps them see more clearly. Please note that double vision can also be a complication of strabismus.

    Finger-pointing while reading

    When you ask your child to read aloud, observe if they are pointing their finger at the words they are reading.

    If they are, it might be due to “crowding,’ a phenomenon where letters or words appear too close together, making recognition difficult. Crowding is common in amblyopia or lazy eye, which can be a complication of strabismus.

    However, please note that finger-pointing is not always a bad sign. In fact, it’s seen in many children who are learning to read independently. For this reason, please check if there are other signs besides finger-pointing while reading.

    Skipping lines while reading

    If they are not finger-pointing, check if your child is losing their place or skipping lines while reading. These could be signs of strabismus or astigmatism.

    Covering one eye

    One of the signs that your child might need glasses is when they frequently cover one eye. They could be “ignoring’ the eye because it has poorer vision and interferes with their sight. Take note that low vision in one eye may indicate a lazy eye.

    Signs associated with eye strain

    Eye strain happens when we use our eyes intensely for extended periods; children can develop it when they overuse their eyes to compensate for poor vision. Some of the most common symptoms of eye strain or eye fatigue are:

    • Headaches
    • Rubbing the eyes
    • Light sensitivity
    • Dry or watery eyes

    How to Protect Your Child from Eye Strain

    Key Takeaways

    If you notice any of these signs in your child, set an appointment with an eye doctor. The earlier you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can correct or manage the condition through eyeglasses or other strategies.

    Learn more about Child Eyecare here. 


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO

    Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated May 19, 2021

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