Parenting Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for parents, grandparents, nannies and others with a parenting role. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My son is two years old. Before we went to an ophthalmologist just for a general check up we did not observe any symptoms of myopia. But doctor advised him to wear glasses all the time. This was very shocking to us because he is able to see objects very far away in the night as well, is able to point at stars even which are very dim and even I took a while to spot one. I am very confused how should I handle this situation.

Please advise.

share|improve this question
So what did the opthamologist say when you told him or her what you had observed? – Aravis Apr 22 '15 at 16:09
My son is now 5 and his eyesight is pretty stable 6/20. The number has also come down to -4 from -5 now. But it keeps on changing. We are going fro eye exam every 6 months. – V.B Apr 11 at 7:11
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I've had the same experience with my son recently. I feel that he has the eyes of an eagle; he can spot an airplane high in the sky, or a small insect in the air, or any little detail at home across the room -- his eyesight seems more than perfect.

But just like in your case, a check-up revealed the need to wear glasses. We got him glasses. He doesn't wear them. He seems fine all the same. But there is some science behind this that makes sense. The essence is that even good eyes can have small problems that are easily corrected early on, but harder to fix in later years.


The eyes can have defects (if I remember right, it's something with incorrect curvature of the lens) but the eyes' muscles can adjust for this, simply by applying a little more force to the lens to bend it right. This is why the eyesight seems perfect, but what we parents don't see is that the "perfect" is only achieved by muscular effort. Over time, the eyes can't continue this effort, and then the eyesight is reduced.

By correcting this situation with glasses, the eye is conditioned to see properly without muscular effort. The glasses are often as low as 0.5 or 0.25 diopter.

share|improve this answer
I agree with you.But unfortunately the glass number given to my son is -5 for both eyes and the number being so high makes us think how is it possible for him to see without glasses. – V.B Jul 9 '13 at 9:00
Viewers please share your experiences. – V.B Jul 9 '13 at 9:02
@V.B -5 seems very high, but... I have -10 on both eyes, and started glasses when I was 8/9, they were about -2. I could not read very far away, it was clear I was nearsighted (and should have had glasses earlier). It was hard to know I was nearsighted until I started reading - before that you can see most thing well enough, you don't know you what you are missing, it is all just a bit fuzzy. – Ida Jul 22 '14 at 18:32

My daughter is 3 and has fairly severe eye problems. We visit ophthalmologists very frequently and we've seen many more than one for her condition.

Did you go see an ophthalmologist or an optometrist? While the training between ophthalmologists and optometrists are very similar, ophthalmologists are also trained to perform surgery and treat more complex diseases and injuries of the eye. The first stop for most people is an optometrist rather than an ophthalmologist which is why I ask. My daughter sees a pediatric ophthalmologist who is further trained to work with and treat children.

If you question the doctor's diagnosis, GET A SECOND OPINION with another doctor. If your son legitimately needs glasses, and his prescription is really a -5 then he clearly needs glasses and he needs to be wearing them regularly. Likewise, wearing glasses when you don't need them isn't really a good idea, either. It could be that the doctor you saw was mistaken or wasn't accustomed to working with children. Two year olds are extremely difficult to assess and diagnose because they're squirmy, they don't like having the light shone in their eyes, and they can't always give you a straight answer. Find one who is accustomed to working with young children. I marvel at my daughter's doctor who, besides using standard techniques to observe her eyes, also reads her body language to help him assess her vision. Minute little flinches she makes that mean nothing to me speak volumes to him.

share|improve this answer
thanks for your inputs.Well We went to ophthalmologist not 1 but to 3 different doctors and all had the same to say about my son.So we are trying to make him feel comfortable with glasses. – V.B Jul 10 '13 at 5:04
Yeah, if 3 different doctors said the same thing then he probably needs the glasses. Fighting the battle of the glasses-wearing is tough (truthfully, my daughter wears contacts, but she LOVES her glasses when she needs to wear them), but in the long run you know it's what's best for his vision. Failing to wear them now will probably mean even more compromised vision when he's older. – Meg Coates Jul 10 '13 at 19:37

Children's eyes are more flexible, have better contrast, and they literally take in more light. There are some startling example photos of that in this article. Myopia doesn't mean you can't see things far away, just that they're out of focus. Being able to notice something high contrast like a star or a person is not surprising.

My daughter got glasses when she was an infant due to side effects of her retinopathy of prematurity. Our opthamologist stressed to us at the time that while it may look like she does fine without glasses, if she didn't wear them regularly during that formative period, she could effectively go blind, and it wouldn't be correctable later.

Granted, my daughter was much younger and had a more serious opthamological condition. However, the only downside to wearing glasses is you have to keep putting them back on over and over for the first month or so. After that, there are only upsides, so why wouldn't you want that for your child? The doctor isn't guessing that your child needs glasses. He can get the prescription nearly perfect without asking the child anything. All that better/worse flipping of lenses they do is only for fine tuning.

share|improve this answer

My child is the same way. She is 3 years old and was prescribed a -2.5 diopter pair of glasses for a -4.0 diopter evaluation. I have not been able to tell of any difference in her vision either. In fact, she used to watch the television from really close but since she got the glasses we don't let her watch as much but also enforce a certain distance; but when now she watches from that distance without the glasses too without any obvious discomfort. I do agree with Torben that they can be hard to diagnose in children just from behavior so I don't know why this is.

On the science though, from what I've gathered so far, in toddlers the muscles controlling the focusing of the eyes become accustomed to focusing close due to near work (or TV / iPads etc) and lack of exposure (outdoor play, sunlight). It is then not possible for this to be fixed unfortunately. In my case, enough of the preconditions were present to convince me that it was our environment that caused her issues.

However, there does not seem to be enough research around this topic. There have been experiments but not enough and not conclusive on how effective treatments are. Some people believe that the glasses in fact have the effect of 'locking' the prescription in place since this is now your eyes' focal point, the muscles have no reason to re-adjust. Apparently, in Asian communities there is a tendency to prescribe slightly less than the measured value for the glasses in order to avoid progression of myopia since the muscles do not relax at the new focal point position. Also, some people think using positive diopter lenses for near work might have the opposite effect. Again, unfortunately, there is not enough research on any of these for anything conclusive.

Finally, I know it's year on from when you asked the question. How is your little one doing now ?

share|improve this answer

my son was diagnosed with - 14 and -15 at 20 mos. he's been in glasses since then and it's essentially changed his life. I knew from very early on his vision was off - he wouldn't focus on me until I was very near, looked veryyy closely at everything, and has a mother with crap eye balls so I had a radar for it.. my pediatrician gave the 'go when I tell you to' response and i'm glad I listed to my gut and took him to a peds ophthalmologist. he gets dilated every 6 mos to make sure his retina's are in tact and there is no macular degeneration so fingers crossed he'll be all good. he'll get contacts as soon as he can tolerate them and then we'll go from there. good luck in your efforts - there is very, very limited information on this for children so young. especially for me - I've yet to come across with another childs vision so severe at so young. BUT... things could always be worse. I have a healthy, happy, little boy.. on a side note his 1 year old brother was recently checked and will go back in another year because the doctor things he may be nearsighted as well (not nearly to the extent of my 2 year old).

share|improve this answer
Thanks Kasey for sharing your experience. – V.B Oct 8 '14 at 5:27

My 5 year old son was diagnosed with Astigmatism along with Myopia. He has been prescribed -2 on both eyes and he started wearing eyeglass easily. Doctor advised to wear glasses all the time. We never thought he would have eye problems, because he never showed any symptoms. He even watched ipad/mobile phone excessively till he was 4 yrs old and we reduced the screen time for him later. Now after wearing glasses also, we are not sure whether he can see clearly and he is also not telling us. Doctor says Myopia will get worser over the age, but can't tell how his Astigmatism will turn out to be. Just hoping it will be all good till he reaches adulthood. Then he can have surgery/Laser treatments. I wish the pediatricians recommend eye exams for all children 2 and above. Definitely if our son had an eye exam earlier, he would not have had to wear glasses with -2 power. But we are thinking better late than never.

share|improve this answer

My son too is highly myopic at 16 months he was -9 3 months later -14.50 and at now he turned 3 today was Checked a few weeks ago and -17.50 he gets put under to have his retnia checked by a specialist every 3-6 months to check for tears or holes and does have some Vessel issues with his retnia and his learning is way behind and I agree there isn't much info out there for children this young and how bad his eyes are and what to expect as They do keep getting worse

share|improve this answer
Tiff, welcome to the site! Could you - from your experience - give us a few real hints on what is important? As it stands, it's not a real answer, more a "I have this problem, too" statement. Just click on "edit" under your answer to change it. – Stephie Apr 20 '15 at 18:07

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.