What your child can see: Light sensitivity, colours and fluctuating vision


Light sensitivity

Some children with visual impairment may be sensitive to bright light and glare. You may notice signs like blinking a lot or watery eyes. You can help by:

  • Pulling the curtains or tilting blinds
  • Ensuring they are not facing a bright window
  • Installing dimmer switches
  • Making sure they wear dark or tinted glasses
  • Ensuring they wear a sun hat outside
  • Children who cannot see well in the dark may need extra support at the end of the day, for example extra task lighting like table lamps.


Seeing colours

Some eye conditions may mean children have low or no colour vision. This means:

  • Some children can see some shades but not all, where other children will just see black, white and grey, although this is unusual.
  • Their ability to see small details may also be affected - things may seem grainy or fuzzy.
  • Your child may get clearer information from black and white pictures or books. You could photocopy pictures into black and white for them to look at.


Your child's fluctuating vision

It’s normal to worry if your child’s vision seems to fluctuate or change during the day. However, this is not unusual at all.

How well they can see may depend on the time of day. For example, if they are tired, they may struggle to concentrate, which can affect how they use their vision.

  • If your child is unwell, their vision may be affected.
  • Changes in lighting may affect their ability to see detail. For example, their eyes may take time to adjust when stepping out into bright sunlight, or if a light is switched off.
  • Their mood can also affect their vision. If they are nervous or stressed (for example, on their first day at school), they may not use their vision quite so well.
  • Your child will use their vision best when they are relaxed, well and rested.

Published: October 2017 

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