How can I tell if my child might have or be developing an eye condition?

Your child should have regular eye exams throughout their childhood however it's still a good idea to look for signs they make be experiencing problems with their sight. It may just be that they need glasses or a new prescription; however, it could also be a sign of something more serious. Indications of a possible visual impairment can include:


  • excessively watery eyes or rubbing them more than usual
  • eyes that wobble or are constantly in motion
  • eyes that are always looking in two different directions
  • dull or cloudy eyes
  • white pupils (the pupil, the small circle in the centre of each eye, is normally black)
  • failing to make eye contact or failing to respond to silent smiles from a parent or carer

Toddler/Small Child

  • walking into things, e.g., doorframes, coffee tables
  • poor hand-eye co-ordination, difficulty throwing, catching and kicking, tripping or unsteady
  • not recognising their parent or carers face from across the room
  • sitting close to things they wish to see e.g., television, books etc
  • frowning or peering at books and when drawing/scribbling etc
  • eyes that are always looking in two different directions - also known as a squint
  • white pupils


  • reluctant to play games and join in activities
  • short attention span, withdrawn, slow development
  • complains of difficulty seeing in the dark or dim lighting
  • complains of extreme intolerance when in bright light
  • blinking excessively, experiencing dizziness or headaches
  • holding work such as writing/drawing very close or bending over work
  • writing in excessively large letters and not on the line, using a finger to keep the place on the page
  • has unusual fatigue after a visual task, possibly complains that work sheets are too small, too faint
  • complains they cannot see the classroom Board or television

Further information including a full list of things to look for can be found on the Guide Dogs Family support webpage and the NHS Eye tests for children webpages.

Did this answer your question?

Related questions

Brought to you by