Whether your child is showing signs of vision problems or is simply due for a general eye exam before starting school, one fact remains: many children feel a bit nervous or intimidated about seeing a new doctor for the first time. Still, eye exams and eye care appointments are important in staying on top of your child's health and wellness. Before your child's first eye care appointment, there are some steps that all parents/guardians can take to make things a little less stressful.
Begin With the Right Eye Doctor
Start by choosing an eye doctor who has plenty of experience working with young children. Not all eye care offices cater to young kids, so consider asking for recommendations from other friends or family members who have children. Make sure that the office you choose will allow you to be in the exam room with your child during the appointment, too, if you think this will help him or her relax.
Read a Book About Eye Exams
Just as there are books to help your child prepare for his or her first dental exam or doctor's appointment, there are books you can buy (or possibly check out at your local library) to prepare your child for an eye exam. Taking the time to read these books with your child can help him or her get a better idea of what to expect from the appointment. If you're feeling creative, you might even consider making up your own story.
Practice Common Eye Exam Procedures
As part of your child's eye exam, he or she will be asked to perform a series of tests that will help to evaluate your child's eyesight. There's nothing wrong with asking your eye doctor about what kinds of tests will be performed ahead of time so you can "practice" them at home. The "tumbling E" test, for example, is a common one used on children to assess the ability to see fine details. You can find free eye charts online to help your child practice at home, which may help him or her feel more confident going into the appointment.
Above all else, make sure you make yourself available to address any questions or concerns your child may have leading up to the exam. Validate any fears your child may have, and take time to have pressing questions about the exam answered by the doctor's office staff as well. Contact an eye care center like Sabates Eye Centers to learn more.