Most children need to begin having eye exams around the age of three. If there is a family history of eye health issues, these appointments may need to be scheduled shortly after birth. Parents who have never taken their child to the eye doctor need to be aware of what to expect from this appointment so they can prepare their children.
How Long Is The Appointment?
One of the first concerns parents have is the length of the appointment. When learning about pediatric eye exams, parents worry the appointment will be too long, and their child will become anxious. It is important to note that an ophthalmologic appointment is going to typically last longer than a traditional doctor’s office checkup. A child’s eye appointment could last up to two hours, depending on the office and the steps involved in the examination.
What Should Parents Bring To The Visit?
The ophthalmologist is going to need to know general information about the child’s health and their family’s health history. Parents need to be prepared to discuss any known health issues, allergies, and surgical procedures. A parent will also need to discuss any medications their child takes regularly.
If a child has previously worn glasses or contacts, parents should bring them to the appointment. A parent will also need to bring the following.
- Insurance card
- Previous eye examination records
- Questions to ask the doctor
The Eye Examination
Some children are afaid when they have to go to the pediatric eye doctor. They may not know what to expect and may be afraid the eye exam will be painful. It is important parents prepare their children and help them understand what to expect. It is also helpful if a parent stays with their child at all times so their child will be comforted.
First, the doctor will examine each of the child’s eyes in depth. The doctor is searching for any signs of eye health issues, such as infections. Eye doctors check to ensure the child’s eyes are functioning normally and there is no damage or genetic issues present.
If the child is old enough and cooperative, they will have a pediatric visual acuity test. This test measures their ability to see clearly. If the child is old enough, they will likely have their eyes examined with eye drops that may make them see funny and make their eyes sting. These drops dilate the child’s eyes and allow the doctor to see all the internal structures to ensure there is no damage and all the components are working correctly. Preparing the child beforehand will help them to be less nervous and afraid.
Schedule Your Child’s Appointment
A child needs to see an eye doctor every two years. Scheduling these appointments regularly will help to ensure a child’s eyes are healthy and functioning normally. If a child ends up needing vision correction, they may need to have an eye examination more frequently.
A thorough eye examination helps identify problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and distorted vision. All of these eye conditions are treated with vision correction.
By knowing what to expect from the pediatric eye exam, parents will be prepared and can prepare their children. When children begin to see the eye doctor at an early age, they are less likely to be frightened.
Taking care of a child’s eye health is important from the beginning. With routine eye examinations, parents will rest assured their child’s eyes are protected and continue to function normally.