What to Expect During Your Child's Eye Exam
Pediatric eye care is very important to your child’s overall health, so it is essential that comprehensive eye exams begin early in life. There are several things you can do to ensure your child is comfortable and the exam is successful.
Before the exam, take time to discuss with your child what will happen during the visit. Ensure that your child understands the eye doctor may ask them to identify letters or shapes, put in eye drops, and look at some lights.
Pediatric eye exams will include assessment for:
- Nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and lazy eye
- Crossing or wandering of the eyes
- Diseases or structural abnormalities of the eye
- Visual dysfunction affecting reading comfort or efficiency
Scheduling an Appointment
Examining children and individuals with special needs can be tricky and unpredictable, so we encourage you to plan conservatively for up to 2 hours for a comprehensive exam. Follow-up appointments, if needed, may take up to one hour.
If your child has behavioral difficulties or special needs, we welcome the opportunity to serve you! If you anticipate an extended exam duration due to limited cooperation, please let us know in advance so we can accommodate you.
For infants and toddlers, avoid planning your visit during their regular naptime so we can see them when they are alert and happy. It may also be a good idea to bring along some snacks or a favorite toy.
Preparing for Dilation
For a comprehensive exam, the doctor may put some eye drops in your child’s eyes – this will not be painful but may tickle for a moment. The drops will take about 30 minutes to take effect. After the exam, your child will temporarily be more sensitive to sunlight, and it may be beneficial to bring a hat or sunglasses from home. In addition, your child will experience blurred vision which may last the rest of the day and can rarely persist up to 36 hours. Your child will still be able to return to school and participate in most activities but should be exempt from reading tasks and homework during this time.
Dilation of the eyes is necessary for two purposes: first, it allows us to check for abnormalities inside the eye; second, and more importantly for children, it relaxes their focusing which helps us determine the most appropriate glasses prescription.
Infant Eye Exams
Vision develops throughout infancy as the eyes improve their connections with the brain. During this stage, poor vision can limit other aspects of development, so it is important to detect vision problems early (we recommend a preliminary exam around 6-12 months of age). While infants cannot respond to questions, our doctors have a number of child-friendly methods that will maximize the accuracy and completeness of the exam.
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