Eye exams are an extremely important aspect of your child’s health and wellbeing. Their vision is extremely important for their day to day life, helping them to learn and develop as well as keeping them safe. Regular eye exams are the best way to ensure that your child has healthy eyes and clear vision. However, we understand that attending any sort of medical appointment, including an eye exam, can be a daunting prospect for a young child.
As a parent, one of the best things that you can do to ensure that your child is calm and relaxed when visiting for an eye exam is to prepare them for what they can expect to happen. Although this may vary a little depending on your practice or your child, you can usually expect the same elements to be covered.
Here’s what to expect at a child eye exam.
Most children’s eye exams will begin with a short chat where your eye doctor will ask you (and your child) some questions about the health of their eyes and how well they feel that they can see. They may also ask about any general health problems that your child experiences, and any activities that they enjoy. This is important because it helps your professional to understand your child and how they spend their time a little better.
This is the element of an eye exam that most people are familiar with and will assess how well your child can see at different distances. If your child can read, a chart of letters will be used. However, if they are unable to, there are other techniques to assess this including using shapes. Your child’s depth perception will also be checked at this time.
This simple test uses a torch to see how well your child’s eyes respond to light, and if the pupils react normally.
For the eyes to function optimally, they need to be able to work together. Your eye doctor will ask your child to focus on a finger or pen which they then move from side to side to check how your child’s eyes follow it. During this test, your child’s peripheral vision will also be assessed.
In addition to the tests above, your eye doctor will want to look at the actual eye itself. This includes the front part of the eye, the eyelids, the cornea and lens of the eye. They will also need to look at the structures in the back of the eye, including the retina and optic nerve. To do this, special eye drops will be placed inside your child’s eyes to widen the pupil. This is completely painless. Once they have taken effect, your eye doctor will be able to use lights and lenses to examine the structures at the back of the eye.
If your child is found to need glasses to see clearly, a few other checks will be carried out to determine what prescription is needed to correct their vision. This will depend on whether they are found to be nearsighted (myopic), farsighted (hyperopic) or have astigmatism. This will be explained to you and your child at the time, and their individual prescription will be used to create the lenses that they will wear in their eyeglasses. If your child is older, they may also have the option of wearing contact lenses.
If your child is due an eye exam, don’t delay in scheduling an appointment with our expert eye care team at Omaha Primary EyeCare in Omaha, NE today.