How to Prepare Your Child for an Eye Exam

How to Prepare Your Child for an Eye Exam

Just like visits to the pediatrician and dentist, routine children’s eye exams are an important aspect of your child’s healthcare. Pediatric eye exams help catch ocular health concerns and vision issues so they can get the treatment needed to correct any problems. 

Recent research shows over one-quarter of children between 2-17 years wear corrective lenses. And while many schools provide vision screening tests, these quick exams can miss many eye issues, including trouble seeing up close or problems with eye shape or health.

Stacy Turner, OD, at Eldorado Vision & Optical in McKinney, Texas, has decades of experience providing pediatric eye care to children of all ages. Dr. Turner recommends all children have an annual comprehensive eye exam to assess their eye health and visual acuity. The initial eye exam is recommended at age 5, unless there are vision or eye concerns noted earlier.

Here’s a look at our top tips for helping your child prepare for their eye exam so they can get the most out of their visit:

1. Help your child understand what to expect

Kids do better when they know what to expect. Before your child’s appointment, explain the different parts of their eye exam and what each one is like, including:

Dr. Turner may also check your child’s internal eye pressure (tonometry) and the curvature of their corneas (auto-refractor/keratometer test). Let your child know these important tests help Dr. Turner keep their eyes healthy and their vision sharp. 

2. Try a practice eye exam at home

Before you head to the office for your child’s eye exam, try a “practice exam” at home. You can have them practice sitting still in an “exam chair.” If your little one struggles to sit still, try turning it into a game of statue or something similar so they’re ready for their in-office exam. 

You can also practice different parts of the exam. For example, try asking your child to read signs or identify symbols from a distance. They can also try covering each eye with a wooden spoon or their hand to see what it's like to test their vision in each eye. 

3. Select your appointment time with care

Our office offers a variety of appointment times, but you know your child best. Schedule their eye exam at a time you know works best for them. 

For some children, scheduling an appointment after school when they’re tired or hungry makes the exam more difficult. For others, an early morning appointment before they’re fully awake may make it difficult for them to pay attention. 

4. Bring a special toy or item

Help ease any nerves by having your child bring a favorite stuffed animal or special toy. Having this item with them can help your child feel more secure and less worried so they’re better able to relax during their eye exam.

5. Promote conversation between your child and their doctor 

We know it’s tempting to answer questions for your child or encourage them to respond if they’re being shy. But Dr. Turner has extensive experience with pediatric eye exams, and making conversation with your child is how she gets to know them better and build rapport so they feel comfortable coming in each year. 

For these reasons, although it can be tempting to answer questions for your child or encourage them to respond if they’re shy or nervous, it’s important to let your child and Dr. Turner interact as much as possible.

In our experience, children respond better to the doctor when they are the only one with the doctor during the examination. Once the examination is done, the doctor will consult with their parent(s). 

Is your child ready for their annual eye exam? Request an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Turner at Eldorado Vision & Optical in McKinney, Texas. 

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