Preparing for Your Child’s First Visit to the Eye Doctor

There are plenty of firsts that your child will go through in life and some will be more monumental than others. And while many of these firsts will seem exciting and fun, there are also those that are necessities and are meant to ensure their health and well-being. One of those is their first visit to the eye doctor. If you’ve been thinking it may be time to schedule their first appointment with the eye doctor and you want to be sure you properly prepare your child for what to expect, here is some advice that can help.

Does My Child Need to See the Eye Doctor?

The first question you may have is whether or not your child even needs to see the eye doctor. Perhaps they have never complained about their vision and all seems fine and normal. The fact is that visiting the eye doctor will help ensure that they have healthy vision and that if there are any concerns they are spotted early. Your child may not even know they have vision problems, as they may assume the experiences they are having are considered normal.

Some signs you may want to watch for at home include holding items close to their face when reading, a lot of blinking or squinting, they cover one eye to “see better”, they have a lot of headaches, they rub their eyes often, and they seem to tilt their head to one side. These signs are more important than waiting until a specific age for their first appointment. However, in general, eye exams tend to begin at age three.

Talk to Them About What Happens in the Exam

Once you’ve got an appointment booked you can speak to them about what happens during the exam. The eye doctor may want to use eye drops to dilate their pupils, so it’s best to discuss this in advance so they know what it is, how it will feel, and how long it will last. 

You can also talk to them about reading the eye chart, how the doctor will look into their eyes with a special machine, and even the fact that the exam room will be dark while the examination is going on. You can reassure them by letting them know you’ll be right there with them during the whole process. Be sure to also emphasize that none of the tests or tools will hurt.

Ask If They Have Any Questions

You can also ask your child if they have any questions. Let them know that no question or concern is silly and now is the time to get things out in the open. They may also find it helpful to watch a video that shows what an eye exam is like, or you can read a child’s book to them that outlines the process. 

The First Visit Can be a Positive One

The goal should be to ensure their first visit to the eye doctor is a positive one that leaves a good impression on them. 

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