Between ages one and two, it’s important for a child to develop good hand-eye coordination and depth perception. There are activities that can help improve these essential visual skills, such as playing with building blocks, puzzles, or balls of any shape and size.
Children at age two enjoy listening to and looking at storybooks. It helps them develop visualization skills and prepares them for learning to read. At this stage of their development, toddlers also like to paint, draw and colour, sort shapes and sizes, and fit or assemble pieces. These activities are all integral to their visual development.
A preschooler’s eyes are not ready for prolonged or intense concentration at short distances, but they do enjoy TV. To make TV viewing easier on the eyes, the room should be softly lit, the television placed to avoid glare, and the child should sit further away than five times the screen’s width, taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen.
Be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a visual problem:
• Red, itchy or watering eyes
• Sensitivity to light
• An eye that consistently turns in or out
• Squinting, rubbing the eyes, or excessive blinking
• A lack of concentration
• Covering or closing one eye
• Irritability or short attention span
• Holding objects too close
• Avoiding books and television
• Visible frustration or grimacing
Protect your child’s vision. If you notice any of these symptoms, book an eye exam with an optometrist. Your child should have a complete optometric eye exam at six months, before starting kindergarten, and annually throughout the school years to ensure optimal eye health and developmental progress.