Signs Of Vision Or Eye Problems In Children

Signs Of Vision Or Eye Problems In Children

Find out what signs of vision or eye problems to watch for in children.


How can I tell if my child has a vision or eye problem?

See your family doctor if you notice any of the following are happening.

What you might notice if you look at your child's eyes

  • one or both pupils have an unusual or white appearance - you may see this in photographs
  • they eyes are constantly watering or discharging
  • the eyes are not looking in the same direction
  • the eyes do not look the same (for example, one eye is larger than the other)

What you might notice in your child's behaviour

  • your child tilts their head or turns it to one side
  • your child screws their eyes up to see
  • your child sits close to the screen or holds books or puzzles at very close range
  • your child has learning or reading difficulties 
  • your child is clumsier than usual for their age

What older children might tell you

  • your child might complain of headaches
  • they might be extremely sensitive to light or glare
  • they may tell you they can't see clearly
  • they need to sit at the front of the class to see

Some common eye problems in children


Short-sightedness often starts in childhood. It causes things in the distance to look blurry. 

Find out more about short-sightedness in children and young people

Needing glasses

Find out what to do if you think your child may need glasses


Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a very common condition in children. It causes red, irritated and sticky eyes.

Read about conjunctivitis


A squint is when the eyes are not looking in the same direction. If untreated, this can lead to eye problems like amblyopia. Find out about squint, and the main complication of a squint - amblyopia. 

Read about squint


A stye is a red lump on your child's eyelid. It's caused by a blockage of an oil gland in the eyelid.

Read about styes

Blocked tear duct

Some babies can have watery sticky eyes which don't get better. This can happen if the tear ducts become blocked.

Read about blocked tear duct


This page last reviewed 01 August 2022.

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