According to the American Optometric Association, you should start taking your child to the eye doctor when they are three years old. It is best to make your child's first appointment before they begin preschool. If your child has a vision problem that needs correction, he or she can get the necessary care before school starts. If you are taking your child to the optometrist for the first time, you should know what to expect.
Before the Appointment
Before your child's appointment, you should write down the contact information for his or her pediatrician. You should also have a list of any medications your child is taking, the dosage, and how often they’re taken. If your child takes vitamins or supplements, you should put those on your list as well.
The Eye Exam
Your child may be able to sit in the exam chair alone. However, if uncooperative, you may need to sit with your child in your lap. The optometrist will use a special light for your child to follow. This will let the doctor know if your child's eyes are functioning properly together. If your child has a misaligned eye, also known as strabismus, it will be caught during the exam. If the condition goes untreated, it can result in a lazy eye, also known as amblyopia.
Next, the eye doctor will check your child's visual acuity. If your child knows the alphabet, the standard chart can be used. If not, your optometrist will have a chart with pictures for your child to read. If your child needs glasses, it will be determined during this portion of the test.
The last part of the exam is the dilated eye exam. If your child is cooperating, your optometrist will put drops in your child's eyes to dilate them. This will give the optometrist a good look at your child's retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels. The drops will also weaken the focusing muscles in your child's eyes. This can confirm a suspicion that your child is nearsighted, farsighted, or has astigmatism. Some children won't let the optometrist put the drops in their eyes. If this is the case with your child, you may need to wait another year for the dilated portion of the exam.
If your child needs glasses, you can sit down with an optician to select a pair of frames. If you aren't sure what shape frame or what color frame would look best on your child, the optician can give you some expert advice.
Before your child starts preschool, schedule an appointment with Epic Vision Eye Center in Kansas. Our doctor of optometry will perform a complete eye exam to be sure that your child can see correctly and that his or her eyes are healthy.