Risk Factors for Vision Impairment

Eye problems in children are likely more common than you think. Many cases of vision problems go undiagnosed, so it’s important to be aware of risk factors and signs that you may want to get your child some children's glasses. Some common signs of eye impairment include things like squinting or straining to see things in the distance, turning the head to one side when looking at something, rubbing of the eyes, headaches, excessive tearing, clumsiness, and covering an eye to see something better. Look for these signs when trying to figure out whether or not your child needs glasses. It is especially important to look for these symptoms when your child has one of the following risk factors.

Premature Birth

Children who are premature are a great deal more likely to experience vision problems than those that were born at full term. A premature birth is defined as one that occurs before 37 weeks gestation, however the earlier the child was born, the more likely they are to experience vision problems. This is because the eyes often didn’t have enough time to develop in the womb. Children who were born at 28 weeks or earlier are at a substantial risk of having vision problems. If your child was born premature, it is especially important to be on the lookout for vision impairment.


If you or anyone in your family that is a blood relative of the child has vision problems, then it may mean that your child will experience vision problems as well. However, this does not mean that your child will need eyeglasses. Most vision problems don’t start until later in life, and some people will not have vision problems at all. So while genetics can be a factor in determining whether or not your child has vision problems, it is not a guarantee that your child will need glasses.

Eye Injury

Sometimes, an eye injury can lead to a child needing glasses. The scratching of the cornea or any other part of the eye can lead to vision impairment immediately after the injury, or sometimes years later. Some of the most common eye injuries include things like sand getting into the eye. Sometimes, a child can get hit in the eye with something like a rock, and that can cause significant eye damage. If your child has experienced an eye injury, it is a good idea to take them in to the eye doctor to make sure that the injury did not cause any problems with their vision.

Poor Diet

Having a poor diet can lead to eye problems, especially in the teenage years. However, this is not a problem in developed countries as much as it is in third world countries. Just like a lack of food can stunt growth, it can also make vision worse. If there has ever been a time in your child’s life when they have not had access to healthy food, then you may want to consider taking them in for an eye appointment.

Preventative Tips

While oftentimes vision problems cannot be prevented, there are things you can do to help keep your eyesight healthy. As mentioned above, eating a healthy diet is a good way to help keep your eyes healthy. Some foods that are especially good for eyes include things like green and leafy vegetables, fish, citrus, and protein. In addition to eating healthy, be sure that your child wears sunglasses when they are exposed to sunlight. The bright sun can deteriorate the health of your child’s eyes. Make sure your child spends a lot of time playing outdoors as well. Not only does your body need exercise, but your eyes need exercise as well. These tips should help keep your child’s eyes healthy for as long as possible.

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