How To Prepare Your Child For Their First Eye Exam
Many children dislike going to the doctor and having a stranger look closely at them. Even a trip to the eye doctor at a place like Premier Eye Care & Surgery can be scary with the machines and eye drops. Children become nervous with the unknown. How can you prepare your child for the first eye exam?
Practice Makes Perfect
Before going to the doctor's office, take some time to explain to your child what will happen during the eye examination. Tell your child that you two are going to play that you are going to the doctor. You become the doctor. Print out shapes and a few common letters on a piece of paper. Make them different sizes. Stand back from your child and begin the test. Your child should cover one eye at a time and practice telling you what the shapes and letters are on the paper. You are mimicking the exam so that your child has a basic idea of what to expect.
Practice Eye Drops
Eye drops are probably the worst part of an eye exam. You might not want to tell your child about the eye drops because that can cause unwanted nervousness. It's good to let your child know what to expect, but you can make the fear less by practicing at home. Use artificial tear eye drops that are safe for kids, such as those made with saline and nothing else. Start by showing your child how the doctor will put the drops in the eyes by performing the task on a favorite stuffed animal or doll. Then go ahead and put the drops in your child's eyes. Your child will trust you quicker than a stranger. Once your child realizes that the eye drops aren't so scary, they will be less nervous when the stranger has to do it.
Don't Call it a Test
The words "eye exam" or "eye test" might confuse a school-aged child. To them, tests require correct answers or you get a bad grade. A bad grade means failure. Your child doesn't want to fail an eye exam. If they do, they might consider glasses a punishment. Remove the confusion by explaining to your child that the process isn't a test at all. Describe the process without using the words "test" or "exam." Call it eye exploration or some other fun term.
Your child is now prepared for the first eye exam. Grab your child's favorite toy, which also helped with the eye drop lesson, and head off to the eye doctor without fear.