Getting Excited for a First Eye Exam
It is almost back to school time! A lot of parents are experiencing the excitement, and nervousness, of sending their little one to school for the first time. Between packing their backpack full of supplies, buying them new clothes, and assuring them that they’ll have lots of fun, things can get lost in the shuffle. Kindergartners are required by the state to have a comprehensive eye exam and physical before going into school. If your kiddo has never been to the eye doctor before, it can be a little intimidating! Before coming to see us, here are a few tips and tricks for making your first visit a breeze!
Skip the paperwork - No one likes being handed a stack of forms to fill out when they go to a new office; and your little one doesn’t like watching you fill them in either. In our office, you have the opportunity to complete the majority of our intake form on our website! Though your child may not have an extensive medical history, we still need to know their background, medications, and allergies. By taking the time to fill out our medical history online, you’ll be able to streamline your check-in process so that your little one isn’t waiting long to see the doctor!
Let your child be the star - For initial visits, consider getting a sitter or family member to watch siblings while a parent accompanies the patient to our office. Siblings can not only be distracting for your child, but also for you! While our office is happy to accommodate your family, you may prefer to focus on one child's needs rather than acting as a referee.
Talk to your child about what is going to happen at the eye doctor - A lot of children are anxious about visiting a new doctor. Allow your child to ask questions about what the eye doctor is like. Many times, children will be scared that the tests we do will hurt. In our office, we have no tests that hurt or that startle people. If your little one has questions, you can always call us to get the answers if you are unsure. It might also help to have your child come with you to your eye exam to see first hand what we do.
Make notes if your child seems to have difficulty with certain things - Have you noticed your child rubs their eyes a lot? Do they tilt their head or squint when looking at details? Do they avoid reading or near activities? Things like this can signal problems with their vision. Make a note and let the doctor know of your concerns during your appointment time.
Bring along a comfort toy - If you have a particularly nervous child, bringing along their favorite toy can definitely be helpful. Bring Teddy, Dolly, or even Optimus Prime. Dr. Pulsfus can demonstrate the test on the toy to make your child feel less anxious.
Let your child know its okay to need, or not need, glasses - These days a lot of children come in wanting glasses, but we occasionally have a teary eye when a child needs what they don't want. Conversely, it’s normal to see a little one get upset when they have perfect vision and don’t need glasses. It is very important to make sure your kids know that regardless of their visual needs, they are still awesome.
Keep your cool! - No matter what happens before or during the visit, it's important to keep calm for your child. Kids mimic their parents, so if you’re nervous, they will be too!
Going to the eye doctor for the first time can be stressful for both parents and kids, but it doesn't have to be! Here are some more resources to help make your visit drama free:
Watch this video with your child about what to expect!
Here’s an interactive ebook about an eye exam you can read with your child.