By Nancy Gottesman

How do you know if your child needs glasses? Often, it’s intuition. “Some parents just believe their child doesn’t see well,” says Hawke Yoon, MD, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. “More than half of the time, they’re right.” In addition to maternal instinct, here are other signs to consider:

  • Squinting may mean your child is trying to focus on a blurred image to see it more clearly.
  • Holding objects away from his face could be a sign of hyperopia (farsightedness). But rest easy—for most farsightedness in young kids, glasses are rarely needed.
  • Sitting too close to the TV could be a sign of myopia (nearsightedness). Then again, your child just may love being close to the action. Don’t fret: Proximity to the TV does not damage vision, despite your mom’s constant warnings.
  • Covering one eye when reading, watching TV or trying to focus could be a sign that one eye isn’t seeing as well as the other.

Make an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist if you suspect your child needs glasses. (Find one in your area at the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.) Young kids take to glasses more easily than you’d think. “When they realize how much better they can see, they wear them,” says Stacy L. Pineles, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA. An optician who specializes in pediatric eyewear will make sure the frame is comfortable and fits well. (Check out for an extensive range of sturdy—and fun!—children’s eyewear.)

More from New Parent: Toddler Eye Health


Signs and symptoms that mean your toddler could be having trouble seeing.

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