Signs That a Student May Need Glasses September 26 2011

In an average classroom, there are likely to be around five children who already wear glasses but there are also likely to

be just as many who should be wearing glasses who are not! There are a number of reasons for this and the most common include:

  • Child does not want to wear glasses. Although less so nowadays, there is a certain stigma attached to wearing glasses which can result in children who wear them being teased. As a result of this, children may be fully aware that their vision is blurred but they choose to keep it to themselves to avoid having to wear glasses.
  • Child is unaware of the need for glasses. This is especially the case if the child in question is under the age of 7 years old. Below this age, children are likely to assume that their vision is normal, as it is all they have ever known

As a teacher there are tell-tale signs that you can look out for that could indicate that one of your students may have a problem with their vision. If you notice any of the following symptoms on more than one occasion you should suggest to that child’s parents that they should attend for an eye examination:

  • Squinting/screwing their eyes up. This is the most likely sign that you will encounter and typically indicates that a child is near sighted. Such students will have no problem reading or looking at the computer but will struggle to see that projector chart at the front of the class. Near sighted prescriptions generally get worse over time so it best for them to get an eye test as soon as possible.
  • Poor concentration/lack of interest. If the student has very poor vision they may become disruptive in the classroom mainly as a result of boredom. It can be amazing to see the improvement in a child’s behaviour once they have their vision corrected with glasses.
  • Child falling behind. Naturally in a classroom there will be children of all abilities but if you suspect a child is more capable than their results are suggesting, then it could possibly be a problem with their vision.
  • Disinterest in sports. If a child has a lazy eye it is quite likely that they will have problems with their co-ordination. Such a child may find certain sports difficult, meaning they try to avoid playing them where possible.
  • Headaches. Most children will complain of headaches from time to time but if this is happening frequently it

    could mean the student in question may require glasses. Such children are more likely to be long sighted or have astigmatism and headaches are most likely to occur after reading or working on the computer. The headaches are likely to be located at the front or the side of the students head if they are related to their vision.

  • A turn in your student’s eye is more likely to be noticed in a child under the age of 6 years old and is likely to indicate a lazy eye. Lazy eyes can only be treated up to the age of 7 years old so it is important that such a child in seen by the Optometrist as soon as possible.

If you ever suspect any of the above signs/symptoms, start by contacting the child’s parents to encourage them to take their child for an eye test. It is generally advisable for all children to get their eyes tested regardless of whether any problems are suspected as early eye tests reduce the risk of a child developing a lazy eye. Eye glasses are far more fashionable for children than they used to be and if the child is a little older they could consider contact lenses or laser eye surgery. However, laser eye surgery is generally only carried out on 18 years olds and over.

This article was provided by an Optometrist and guest writer, Tim Harwood, who regularly examines the eyes of children ranging from age 2 – 16 years old! He is a firm believer in getting children in for eye tests as early as possible to reduce the chances of a lazy eye developing. In addition to his Optometry practice he also writes articles for his own website,, which covers topics ranging from Botox prices to Glaucoma.