Spotting vision impairment in a child and what to do about it

You may have some indications from birth that your child has a vision impairment, or you may notice signs as your baby grows.

Here are some signs to look out for, you might find that your baby:

  • doesn’t make eye contact when you are feeding them or playing with them
  • is easily surprised when you touch them
  • is easily startled by loud noises
  • moves their eyes in a way you don’t recognise, for example, their pupils flicker or their eyes are looking in two different directions
  • is very passive, for example, doesn’t grab things, doesn’t move their eyes much, isn’t crawling
  • is tilting their head a lot, as if they are looking at objects from an odd angle - this is so they can use the bit of the eye that works
  • isn’t grabbing things around them
  • doesn’t crawl or bumps into things when crawling
  • has white eyes in photos instead of red eyes when a flash goes off

These might not be signs of anything serious but if you have any concerns you should speak to your GP.

If there are other people in your family with eye problems, this could also be a hint that your baby is vision impaired. 
If your child is in nursery or school, talk to the staff and ask if they have noticed any of these signs or anything else in your child’s behaviour that’s unusual.  


RSBC can help you with:

  • practical advice about your child’s development
  • support when you feel overwhelmed
  • understanding your child’s vision impairment better
  • living as a family and being supportive of each other

Call 020 3198 0225 or email


Published: October 2017 

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