Just a "Quirk" or Should He Be Seen by the Eye Doctor?

Updated on January 03, 2013
V.K. asks from Chisago City, MN
19 answers

I know that you guys aren't doctors and I should really ask my son's doctor about this, but at the moment I am just looking for opinions.

My grandmother noticed that whenever my 2 year old son colors he will lean in and get really close to the paper. She is concerned that there may be a problem with his eye sight. Pretty much everybody in my family and in my husband's family wears contacts or glasses, so him having a vision problem wouldn't surprise me. However, he only does this when he colors. He does NOT do this while he is "reading" (Looking at his books and pretending to read). In fact, when we are driving the car he can often see things that we don't notice... If there is a bird sitting in a tree you can bet that he will see it! I would just take him into the eye doctor to be on the safe side, but I know that my son will not be able to follow directions and do those tests that eye doctors have you do. He is somewhat verbal but not enough to do those tests. He wouldn't even be able to read the letter chart thing since he doesn't know his letters yet (We are working on it).

I kind of just want to ignore my grandma's concerns (This is the woman who turned a small bump on my dad's leg into a deadly cancerous tumor within 5 minutes of seeing the bump on his leg) but I felt the need to ask just in case. So what is your opinion or experience with this?

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answers from Columbus on

I remember doing that myself -- leaning in super close to the paper, even laying down to do it -- I've never worn glasses.

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answers from Hartford on

It's actually a good idea to have his eyes checked anyway. He's at an age where he should start getting them checked annually, and not just by the pediatrician but by a real eye doctor.

EDIT: In our case, two of my daughters need glasses. They didn't get them until last year when they were six and nine years old. They probably should have had them much sooner, like at least in preschool. Our ophthalmologist said that obviously we didn't know, but if we could go back in time if one parent has glasses or there's history of several family members that have glasses then your children should get their eyes examined starting between two and three years old. I didn't know this but wish I had.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

A pediatric optometrist specializes in children and there are no letter charts to "read".

The doctor was able to tell my daughter's vision by just looking in her eyes and taking measurements. Also at the end of the room is a case full of toys/stuffed animals that lights up depending on which button the doctor pushes to get them to look where they need them to...

So take him and be on the safe side...

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answers from Detroit on

when in doubt.. go to the dr.

he does not have to read the letters on a chart.. they have a chart with simple pictures.. house sun car... simple things..

but the dr can shine his light in the childs eyes and tell if the child needs glasses.. make sure you go to a pediatric opthamologist.. not a eyeglass prescriber...

took both of my kids to the ped opthamogist.. he said my duaghter was perfect.. but my son has a slight vision problem.. but he said we should wait and see if he grows out of it.. we will continue to see the dr yearly for my son..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Take him to a pediatric ophthalmologist. Does not need to read chart. They have other ways to test. Possible he may be farsighted. Is anyone else in family farsighted. If you notice it check it out. Better to be saf than sorry.

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answers from Madison on

Your pediatrician should be able do a basic eye test using a chart with objects to identify instead of letters. If there is a concern, you will be referred to a pediatric opthamologist.

Just tell your grandmother that you will take him to see the doctor and let her know if there's any concerns.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I would have him checked by a pediatric opthomologist like they have at Associated Eye Care. Do not trust your standard optomitrists at Lens Crafters, Sams Club, etc. My daughter had her vision checked at Sams Club prior to entering kindergarden because my husband suspected she wasn't seeing everything. The optomitrist there said she had a severe astigmatism in one eye but basically blew it off saying it would be too much if she gave her the full prescription and that she could wear the glasses she prescribed (about 1/2 the needed strength) once she was reading and got older and then maybe only at night. Well that was a huge mistake!

She did not have problems in school seeing the board but that was because her strong eye took over almost all her vision. The school did a screening and mentioned the difference in vision between the two eyes so we just started having her wear the glasses Sams Club prescribed during the school day. Again she never complained about not being able to see. Finally we went to associated eye care because my pediatrician strongly recommeded it (even though it was an expensive visit). When her eyes were checked I felt so bad when we learned she was legally blind in one eye (we could only correct her eye to 20/100) because her strong eye had completely taken over. Luckily we caught this problem in time because now she is almost 20/20 in both eyes with correction and after almost a year of wearing an eye patch on her strong eye. I found out that if this is not treated early enough the impairment could have become permanent!

We see Dr. Ann Hickson at associated eye care and she specializes in Children. They do not need to know their letters and they have ways to check even very young children's eyes. They are very kid friendly. I have been to both the office in St. Paul and Woodbury. They do take insurance and in the case of my daughter the medical insurance paid for the visits since it was a serious vision problem.


answers from Columbia on

It doesn't hurt to get him a complete eye exam.

Extreme nearsightedness runs in my family, so both of my boys got their first appointments with the opthamologist at about age 3. And they both got their eyes dialated (with no pain, because they now use numbing drops before administering the dialating drops). Opthamology has technologies now that measure how the eye focuses, with a computer...and can guage whether or not that eye is able to focus on close or near objects. It's amazing.

So get him in for an appointment if you're concerned.



answers from Rochester on

When our son was 2 we had some concerns about his eyes. Our doctor gave us a referral to a pediatric eye doctor. He was amazing in what he was able to get our son to do. They have eye charts that use outlines of common things like apples or cars instead of letters that they use with little kids. Some of the charts have arrows and the child just needs to point in the same direction. They may also put eye drops in his eyes to dilate and/or numb them for a physical exam. I used to work in a daycare and it seemed like kids bending close to the page when they were coloring happened a lot. If that is the only time you notice anything it probably isn't anything, but it never hurts to get it checked out.



answers from Boston on

It wouldn't hurt to have him checked out by a pedi. ophthamologist..check w/your local Childrens Hsp...and he doesn't need to know his letters and numbers....mine had his hearing checked when he didn't speak at that age...Good luck



answers from Madison on

I would take him to a pediatric eye specialist and have his eyes checked.

My daughter complained that the lights hurt her eyes and she'd cry and cry and cry if we didn't turn out the lights. This was after she'd been at daycare all day (when she was about 3 years old, I think). I took her to her pediatrician; the pediatrician did the usual eye charts; they were "normal." She said my daughter was having issues with light/sensitivity because she had light-colored eyes (blue-green).

My mother's intuition said there was more going on than what I was being told. I still had her pediatrician make an appointment with a pediatric eye specialist. Even if my daughter came back with 100% good eyes/eyesight, I'd feel better, knowing I'd done everything I needed to do.

Turns out, I was the one who was right.

My daughter had Strabismus (thankfully corrected with a computer game program; she didn't need to have surgery) and she is far sighted/wears glasses. She is almost 13 years old now, and we're crossing our fingers that she will be one of the lucky ones who will (hopefully) grow out of needing her glasses.

I'll always remember my friend telling me that she never knew her son was blind in one eye until he was something like 6 or 7 years old and it was caught on a routine eye exam. He'd complained that his other eye was hurting--it was from the strain of having to do all the seeing. He wears glasses now (he's over the age of 18 now). She felt like the worst mother on the planet for not having noticed sooner.

And pediatric eye specialists have different things they do with really small children. Ever see all of the babies wearing glasses who are under the age of 1? They can't tell their numbers or colors either--they can't even speak! The eye specialist uses prisms to look at the eyes of very young children. They're specialists and have been working with young children for a very long time. They know how to look at/check their eyes.

So if you have doubts, get him tested. You'll feel better knowing, and if he does need glasses/other help, you'll be able to get help for him early.



answers from Washington DC on

It's almost certainly nothing (and if it isn't impacting his daily life or coordination they are unlikely to recommend correcting it at this point) but you should take him to the eye doctor just to check it out.

ALL young kids are actually farsighted, it has to do with the eye's development. At this age they check for an age appropriate level of farsightedness.

He doesn't need to know the letters to get his eyes checked. They can check vision in infants, they can certainly check a 2 year old. If they need to check distance vision, they have charts with stick figures ("house" "person" "cat" "car" instead of letters) but the doctor can also check certain things by actually examining the eye.

Depending on your insurance you might want to start at the pediatrician... you don't need to use separate vision coverage to get his eyes checked.



answers from New York on

If he doesn't do it when he "reads" he's prob not farsighted. I too would not hurry to a doctor until I felt he would follow directions better. Just keep an eye on this at home for a few months. Common problems that they test for at this age are color blindness and "lazy eye" Get some paint samples at the hardware store and make a color match game. Teach him to match the colors with small chips and observe if this is difficult (color blindness?) or if he leans in close to play this game. Draw a line on a piece of paper and have him trace it with his finger. Teach him to follow a squiggle on a piece of paper with his finger and observe his eye hand coordination, (it should not be great at this age, but does it help to lean in close, does he use both eyes to follow? Can he follows a flashlight beam with both eyes, and with one eye at a time? Give him lots of time to learn how to play these games and Dont stress him out over this!!



answers from Cleveland on

i think kid lean in when they color Not to see better but to PUSH harder. They just get into their art and part of that is leaning in and using their whole body.

if there were any other warning signs, if you ever question it yourself, or if anyone else ever says word one to you then sure a dr wouldn't hurt my dd was being examined at that age due to some medical issues.

but honestly if he isn't rubbing his eyes, squinting, leaning his head one way or the other, if when you slowly move a hairbrush or a pencil in front of his eyes and he can track it ok up and down and side to side I bet he is fine. it may come down the road that he needs glasses but I personally would not run in on granny's say so, you hint that she might be a bit of a hypochondriac so I vote no.


answers from Philadelphia on

Odds are he is near sighted. emmy did that and needed glasses at three . Tbe doctor saw her tbe same day I calledto make sure it was, only visual problems. Also if he is near sighted and you don't get him checked his one eye that sees worse could stop working as well and you would need to patch.....my moms friend ignoredit and by the time it was caught she was blind in one eye....get him checked best scenario he is fine....worst he needs glasses and you caught it early



answers from Miami on

V., I have dealt with unusual ways that my own child used his eyes (one of his eyes jumped if he crossed them - made me sick to my stomach to see that!), so I understand what you are saying. In my case, I got an appointment with a pediatric opthamologist (it took 3 months to get in) and he tested my son thoroughly. I left feeling a lot better about my son's eyes. In his case, the doctor told us just to remind him not to cross his eyes (yeah, I know - LOL!) Many years later, my son's eyes are fine except for a little near-sightedness.

I think that if your grandma wasn't the one who was pointing it out to you, that you would not be questioning whether to have his eyes checked. That's the problem with people who see health scares in every corner pointing it out to you - it makes it harder for you to take it seriously or even trust your own judgment.

Anyway, if I were you, I'd find a pediatric opthamologist and have this checked out. If you have a smart phone, record it for the doctor and show him what your son does with the colors, and conversely, how he treats a book. It might be useful for him to see what he's like outside of the doc's office.




answers from Cincinnati on

it would not be a bad idea. I had my dd go when she was 2. she sees EVERYTHING (things we never notice) but glasses also run in the family. she saw a pediatric optometrist who checked her visual tracking and dilated her eyes to check vision/health of her eyes and was able to see that she maybe far sighted (wanted me to return in 6 months to have her do a couple of most tests that involved matching pictures). My dd did not fuss with the dialation much (very briefly), but every chlid is different.

good luck!


answers from San Antonio on

My son went for the first time at age 3.5.

YAY - they don't have to know letters/numbers. They have pictures of cars, house, flower, etc.

BUMMER - if they have to dialate your child's eyes, you better belive that your child will flip out. It burns when they put in the drops. I was not there when they did this to my son (my mom was with him, I was having MY eye exam). I did hear him scream down the hallway. Mom said they had to hold him down. So - make sure you have rewards ahead of time ready for your child. And talk to the dr and your insurance person first - My doctor had a "different" way to do it without dialating the eyes, but using that machine cost me an extra chunk of change that I didn't have to spend.

Yes - listen to Grandma's concerns. My son went to the dr because MY MOM was concerned. She knew what to look for because I had glasses at age 3yrs. And the doctors told her "good job catching this early. The longer you would have waited, the worse FreckleMama's eyesight may have gotten."



answers from New York on

Do not make any assumptions or excuses for your son. Take him to the doctor and I assure you the dr. will do whatever necessary for eye testing a 2 year old. There are children younger than 2 with glasses, so I'm sure dr's know what they need to do. Perhaps he needs glasses, excercises or perhaps one eye is worse than the other. Just address it, don't assume anything. Good Luck.

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