How To Prepare For Your Child’s First Eye Exam
Bringing children in for their first eye exam can be a somewhat worrisome encounter, and we don’t necessarily mean only for them. Experiencing something for the first time can make anybody anxious. As adults we understand that the unknown is always worse than the reality.
There are some simple ways to mitigate any anxiety by preparing both your child and yourself for the exam. Let’s look at some tips for how to prepare for your child’s first eye exam.
Preparing Your Child
Let’s start by suggesting that you don’t spend a lot of time talking about “testing” and eye “exams.” Some children may immediately think they are going to be judged or will give wrong answers. Instead, discuss how everyone’s eyes must be checked to find out if they are working right. Reassure them there will be no needles or anything that will hurt.
Explain how the eye doctor will give them some pictures to look at and some games to play with their eyes. Depending on their age, this will make the visit seem more like a fun activity.
The one part of the exam that can upset children is when dilating drops are administered. You can practice this at home with artificial tears and explain this is how the doctor can look inside their eyes.
Children cannot always explain that they are having trouble with their vision. It is up to parents to observe and note certain behaviors that might be suspect. Does your child seem to blink excessively? Do they rub their eyes? Do they complain of headaches? These may be signs of vision issues.
Come prepared with information for the eye doctor concerning their family history. For example:
- Family history of eye diseases or refractive errors, like extreme nearsightedness
- Was your child born prematurely?
- Were there any instances of delayed motor development?
- List any other behaviors you may have noticed like sitting very close to the TV or computer, tilting their head, or having trouble following objects with their eyes.
Expect that the doctor will dilate your child’s eyes so be prepared to spend at least an hour at the office. Bring along some books, toys or games to keep them occupied.
Try not to schedule the appointment near their nap time, and bring along a non-perishable snack if you suspect they will get hungry. Your child will get their best evaluation if they are alert and happy.
One last piece of advice. Search out a vision center that welcomes pediatric patients, like Cedar Park Vision.