Hesperian Health Guides

Signs That Could Mean a Child has a Seeing Problem

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.


HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 30: Blindness and Difficulty Seeing > Signs That Could Mean a Child has a Seeing Problem


  • Eyes or eyelids are red, have pus, or continually form tears.
  • Eyes look dull, wrinkled, or cloudy, or have sores or other obvious problems.
  • One or both pupils (the black center of the eye) looks gray or white.
  • By 3 months of age, the child’s eyes still do not follow an object or light that is moved in front of them.
  • By 3 months the child does not reach for things held in front of him, unless the things make a sound or touch him.
  • Eyes ‘cross’, or one eye turns in or out, or moves differently from the other. (Some eye-crossing is normal up to 6 months.)
  • Child squints (half shuts his eyes) or tips head to look at things.
  • Child is slower to begin using his hands, move about, or walk than other children, and he often bumps into things or seems clumsy.
  • Child takes little interest in brightly colored objects or pictures and books, or she puts them very close to her face.
  • Has difficulty seeing after the sun sets (night blindness).
  • In school, the child cannot read letters on the blackboard. Or he cannot read small print in books, or gets tired or often gets headaches when he reads.

If the child shows any of these signs, test her vision, and if possible, see a health worker or eye doctor. Sometimes eyesight can be saved by preventive steps or early treatment.

Methods for testing if a baby sees and for measuring the vision of children are discussed with "CHILD-to-child activities", and in Helping Children Who Are Blind.



This page was updated:21 Nov 2019