Your child's first few appointments at the eye doctor may be a little scary— the equipment can be daunting, and the doctor will need a lot of cooperation to complete a thorough exam. There are a few things that you can do to help your child get used to the idea of an eye exam.
Walk Your Child Through the Appointment
The first step is to let your child know what to expect during the visit. Walk them through the different steps of an eye exam, allowing them to ask questions as they go. There are some excellent books about eye exams that will help to explain the process with pictures and stories.
Once your child knows the different steps that will happen during their appointment, it can be fun for them to play doctor and pretend to give you or a doll an eye exam. This can lighten the mood of the visit and help them feel more comfortable.
Ask for Accommodations
If your child is very young, then you may need to speak with the optometrist's office about age-appropriate testing. For instance, if your child is struggling with verbal development, they may not be able to communicate with the doctor thoroughly and your doctor could miss something with the traditional tests. There are sometimes nonverbal tests that measure your child's ability to track objects and distinguish between shapes.
Give a Tour
Another thing to consider is bringing your child into the office so that they can meet the doctor and staff ahead of time. This can ease some nerves, and you can make sure that the doctor has a good demeanor with children.
Communicate with Your Doctor About Fears
If you have any concerns about how your child might react to the eye doctor visit, contact your doctor ahead of time to see how they can make the appointment more comfortable. For instance, if your child has reacted badly to other doctors' actions in the past, you might want to warn the optometrist and see if they can adjust their behavior.
If your child is expressing some fears towards a certain part of the appointment, your doctor can try to be more gentle and assuring during those times. Having a successful first eye doctor visit depends on the cooperation between you, your doctor, and your child, and a great first visit is possible with a little bit of planning. Contact a local doctor, like De Venuto Joseph J, for more information.