9 Signs your Child needs an eye Exam, Eye Exercises

Eye exams are tests done to help detect any eye condition, disease or problem. An eye exam can be performed by an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or optician to assess our vision and ability to focus on objects within our Visual Fields.

The eyes, especially in children is one part of the body that is commonly overlooked, until something serious occurs. It is particularly very difficult to tell when a child have problems with their eyes, without an eye exam, except when the problems are very serious and obvious like those of cataracts, blindness, etc.

Silent conditions like refractive errors (short sightedness, long sightedness), squints may usually go unnoticed till adolescent. These conditions may affect their academic performance if no intervention is made.

Signs that You need an Eye Exam

This write up aims to help you identify little details that should suggest that your child’s needs to have his/her eyes examined.

They include;

  • Complain of headache
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Poor sports performance
  • Squinting
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Poor reading ability
  • Poor school performance
  • Sitting close 2 TV
  • Loss of place while reading

Complain of headache

When children overly strain their eyes to see things, this causes headaches over extended period of time, and hence, a child with a possible problem in the eye, would complain of recurrent headaches.

Fatigued eyes

This is a feeling of tiredness, burning or itching eyes. This may occur after they read for a while due to straining of the eyes.

Poor sports performance

A child with untreated vision problem might perform poorly in sports due to clumsiness, poor hand-eye coordination etc.

Squinting (aka, closing one eye)

Squinting doesn’t damage one’s eyes, rather it shows your child needs glasses.

Blinking or rubbing eyes

If your child rubs his/her eye while trying 2 concentrate on an activity/object or while reading, it could mean there’s a vision problem.

eye exam
A child rubbing the eyes. Image Credit: All about Vision

Poor reading ability

Vision problems in kids may prevent them from seeing clearly thereby discouraging reading.

Poor school performance

Many children don’t have a concept of poor vision, so they won’t know when they can’t read something leading to poor performance. These are mostly children having one form of refractive errors or another. If a child who is short sighted is placed at the back, he/she wouldn’t see anything on the board, and would continue to do poorly in school.

This might be a good time for you to check of that child of yours that does poorly in school might be due to a visual problem.

Sitting too close or too far from the Television/Books:

If your child sits close to the TV or holds his/her phones/books too close or at a far distance, it may be a sign of vision problem. Watch them.

Loss of place while reading:

Does you child skip lines while reading or uses their finger to track the words so they don’t jump, then this is a sign of vision problem

Children’s vision are very important, if not properly observed, they may go unnoticed for many years, thereby affecting the quality of their life & engagements.

Try to make it a habit to take your children to have an eye exam and also see an eye doctor at least ones in their lifetime if not once every year.

10 Exercises to Improve your eyesight!

Just like every other organs in the body, they eyes also have muscles too and they need exercises. Try these simple eye exercise to increase blood circulation, relax your eyes and improve your overall vision.

  1. Strengthen your eye’s near and far focusing; Focus on an object 5-10 feet away for 10-15 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
  2. Move your eyeballs up and down; Close your eyes then move your eyeballs up and down. Repeat 5-10 times.
  3. Exercise your gaze; Draw a geometric figure with your gaze.
  4. Press your temples; Push against your temples with your fingers for 2 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
  5. Close and open your eyes; Close your eyes for 3-5 seconds then open them. Repeat 7 times.
  6. Move your gaze in different directions; For five seconds look up, then down, right and left or in a circular motion.
  7. Close your eyes; Close and relax your eyes for 30 seconds.
  8. Look to your right and left; Look to your right while inhaling then to your left while exhaling for 30-60seconds.
  9. Stare and turn your head; Turn your head right to left while starring ahead for 30-60 seconds.
  10. Blink for a minute; Open and close your eyelids quickly for 30-60 seconds.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have.


  • Dr. Nnamdi Okore

    Dr. Okore Elem Nnamdi holds a Doctor of Optometry degree from the Abia State University, in Uturu, Abia State Nigeria, where he graduated as a Valedictorian. Dr. Okore, currently works as a Lecturer in the department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, Abia State University, ABSU. He is a seasoned speaker, an eye health educator and he loves to research.

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