Regular eye exams are important for people of all ages, including children. Just like adults, children can develop issues with the health and condition of their eyes, as well as problems with the development of their visual skills.
Recent years have seen an increase in the number of children being diagnosed with myopia, also known as nearsightedness. Myopia occurs when someone can see objects held right in front of them clearly, but the further away something is, the blurrier it appears. This increase in the percentage of kids being diagnosed with myopia is thought to be largely due to a combination of less exposure to natural sunlight (more time spent indoors) and increased use of digital devices.
Making sure your child has healthy eyes and can see clearly should be a priority for any parent or caretaker. Poor visual skills and difficulty reading can make it much harder for children to access their education, fit in with their peers, and achieve their full potential at school. If your child isn’t used to visiting your eye doctor, it’s normal to expect them to feel a little shy or anxious. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help them feel calmer and more reassured.
Here are our top tips on how to prepare your child for a pediatric eye exam.
A great family eyecare practice will be accustomed to working with children and will have developed a range of tools and techniques to put their youngest patients at ease when they visit. Many doctors hold special clinics for kids so that they can focus their energies on the specificities of assessing and caring for children’s eye health during that time.
For many children, their fear of any medical professional, including an eye doctor, stems from not knowing what to expect. They could mistakenly believe that they are going to be subjected to tests that are painful, that could damage their bodies or eyes, or that they will be scolded. Even the youngest of children can benefit from having what to expect from their appointment explained to them. Do this in an age-appropriate manner, choosing words and phrases that they will understand. You may even be able to find images of the practice online to show them.
Things you could talk about could include:
What the office looks like and where they will be asked to sit
That their eye doctor may shine a bright light into their eyes to look at them
That they may be asked to look into different devices and lenses
The requirement to read letters/numbers off of a chart
Explaining that there are no right or wrong answers to any questions that they are given, but that they should always tell the truth
It can help children to understand that visiting the eye doctor isn’t going to be a very regular thing. In fact, for most children, they will only need to attend an eye exam once every year. This can be reassuring for kids to hear, especially if they don’t particularly enjoy the experience.
For more tips on how to prepare your child for a pediatric eye exam, please speak to our reassuring and knowledgeable team at Smoot Eye Care in Bedford, Indiana by calling (812) 675-4199.