Many children are scared when going to their very first eye exam. This is perfectly understandable; it’s something new, and anything new can—and will—be scary for children. This being said, it’s important to prepare your child beforehand. For a successful visit to the optometrist, ensure that your child is ready and knows just what to expect. Here are a few ways to help get your child ready:
- Talk about the exam a few days before it is scheduled and cover the basics of what will happen during the appointment. Talk about how the child will need to read letters or shapes and look at a few colors.
- Ensure that the child knows that there are no right or wrong answers. No optometrist wants a child to feel like they are taking a test in school. Explain the purpose behind each activity to help your child understand what is going on.
- Make sure your child gets enough sleep the night before the appointment, as being tired can affect vision and concentration. For the most accurate vision test, the child needs to be well rested.
- Explain to the child what the environment of an optometrist office is like. This is especially important when dealing with children who are afraid of the dark. If the child knows beforehand that the room will be dark but safe, and understands the purpose behind the lighting, they will be more at peace.
Above all else, be sure that your child knows that this is something that is meant to help them. The optometrist will talk the child through the exam in order to make him or her feel more at home. There may even be a few jokes tossed about in order to help kids feel more at ease with the optometrist.
Annual eye appointments are recommended from a young age in order to catch any eye issues that may arise. However, don’t be afraid to schedule appointments sooner if you notice odd eye-related behaviors, such as squinting. Addressing eye problems soon can help your child in all aspects of their social and academic development.