Most of us become anxious when doing anything for the first time. Children are no different, but a parent can easily mitigate any worries about having an eye exam. We are here to answer your question and provide some tips: how to prepare my child for their first eye exam.
Choose Your Words Carefully
Don’t broach the subject by telling your child they must go have an eye test or an eye exam. They may hear the words “test” and “exam” and think they are going to be judged and might give wrong answers. Instead suggest that it’s time they get their eyes checked to be sure they are healthy and they are seeing everything they should correctly.
Remind them that you have your eyes checked regularly.
Before they ask, reassure them nothing will hurt and there are no needles. Tell them the check up will include looking at some pictures and maybe playing some games. Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus Associates wants to know how they see and what they see. If they are missing anything, the doctor can fix it.
Let Them See The Website
Go online and find the website with pictures of the staff, the doctor(s), and maybe even the waiting room. Just as this is helpful for you, it will be for your little one. They will become familiar with the faces and people they will be meeting, and there will probably be pictures of other smiling children.
Tell Them About Dilation
This may be the one scary part of the visit, but you can get past that by role-playing. Use some moisture drops and pretend to put them in the eyes of a favorite toy or stuffed animal. Then let them do it.
Next, show them how easy it is by putting drops in their eyes. It will only take a second! Explain that this is how the doctor can see inside their eyes.
You Come Prepared Too
Bring a list of information including:
- Information about any family history of eye diseases or refractive errors like nearsightedness.
- Do other members of the family wear glasses?
- Was your child a preemie?
- Include any behaviors you have noticed like sitting close to the TV or holding their iPad close to their eyes.
- Do they tilt their head sometimes to see? Rub their eyes?
Lastly, bring a snack if there is a chance they will be hungry. Try not to make the appointment around a nap time (if they still take one). Bring a toy, book, or other distraction since they will be here at least an hour and a half to allow for dilation.