Regular visits to the ophthalmologist are a simple and effective way to maintain eye health. Children especially need eye exams to detect issues such as lazy eyes or visual impairments. These problems must be addressed, either by fixing the problem, prescribing corrective lenses, or making accommodations for their comfort and safety.
However, eye exams can be pretty intimidating for little ones. Here are some tips to help make your child’s first visit to the ophthalmologist go smoothly:
Give them all the info they need to know what to expect at the eye doctor:
● Start by explaining what an eye doctor is looking for, and why eye health is important.
● Next, talk them through the kinds of tests an eye doctor performs, so they know what to expect.
● Show them pictures of the equipment the doctor will use, so they’re not startled when they see it in person.
You’re your little one’s number one ally and advocate at their appointment:
● If you fear your child may have significant vision impairment or loss, prepare yourself by learning about eye disorders and how to treat them.
● Bring up any questions or concerns you have about your child’s vision at the start of the appointment.
● If your child is scared or uncomfortable during the exam, remind them they’re safe.
● If your eye doctor diagnoses them with any kind of vision issue, make sure they explain it thoroughly enough for you and your child to understand it.
Taking the right approach after a visit can stop your child from building up anxieties about next time:
● Let them know they did a great job, especially if they disliked the process.
● If your child was diagnosed with any kind of vision problems, take extra precautions at home to keep them safe.
● Consider picking up some of these books about vision impairment designed to help kids understand their own and others’ abilities.
Depending on how old your child is and how frequently they need to see the doctor, you may need to take some of these approaches again for future visits. Keep this article bookmarked so you can get back to these resources later. Prepare your child for doctor’s appointments when they’re little, and you’ll empower them to be a strong advocate for themselves as an adult.