Preparing your Child for the first Eye Exam

In the past, my medical care rarely included an eye doctor of any kind. It was until recently when I experienced a sudden and dramatic vision loss that I realized how priceless eye sight is for me. When I say it was sudden, I mean that it happened literally over night and by then, no one could tell me why. The only thing six sight specialists could explain to me is that something damaged my optic nerves beyond repair. No focal lenses or surgery could help me to see more than the sudden obscurity of my faded view. That’s why I can honestly tell you that vision is too important to take for granted, even if your view today is 20/20, it can fade away with just the sun coming up on a new day.

To prepare a child for his first eye exam, think of it as one of the most important aspects of his medical care, and don’t put it off just because it costs so much. So many of us don’t have eye care insurance, so we allow ourselves to believe that what we don’t see will never be our reality. Believe me. Looks can be deceiving.

Check into your family history to see if there are any eye diseases there. If so, your risk and your child’s risk is higher than you might have believed in losing the precious sight you’ve come to depend on. Take it very seriously.

Every school has a school nurse with an eye chart inside her office. Ash her if you can do a “pretend eye exam,” with your child. That way, the experience at the eye doctor won’t seem so strange. Buy an eye dropper and drop a few drops of distilled water in your child’s eyes. By you doing it first, where he feels safe from harm, he’ll be more likely to cooperate with the eye doctor’s nurse who does the same thing later on.

Any office of any doctor would be happy to let you inside ahead of time to show your child where he’ll be in a few days. That way the doctor can build a rapport with your child before the fits time he gets his exam. Be proactive when it comes to the image in a child’s vision of reality. There’s nothing like experience to ease the mind.

Tell you child how nice eye doctors can be, and remind him why he’s a nice guy. Point out all those things he gets to see and how the eye doctor helps him see more vividly. Just don’t use scare tactics, please. Children don’t need to fear the office of an eye doctor the way I once did. It prevents them from taking care of their vision later on when those bad memories linger on. Make it fun and promise him when it’s done you can celebrate his great vision with ice cream and maybe a day in the park where he can practice seeing the trees and flowers vividly. This motivates the eye exam to become a pleasant experience in the end, and I promise you there is not better life experience than vision, my friend.

Once you’ve practiced with pretend eye exams a time or two, your child will have a more realistic view of why eye doctors are the good guys and why his equipment isn’t something to fear, but to be grateful for. Your child will see clearly, I’m sure, what a good parent you were to protect his vision.