Calming Those First Appointment Woes
A child’s first appointment with the optometrist can be a scary one, but it doesn’t have to be! We are dedicated to make every visit for your child a pleasant experience to help them see their best!
As we discussed in our last blog, we are very proud to partner with INFANTsee to help parents with children under the age of one receive free eye exams to catch any early signs of vision impairments, troubles, or conditions. All of which can be cared for, taken care of, or managed without impairing your child’s eyesight later in life. Introducing them to an optometry visit at an early age introduces them to the idea that these visits aren’t scary, and how important eye care will be throughout their whole lives.
What do these early exams look like and what will your optometrist be looking for when you visit us?
- Nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and crossed eyes or focusing issues. A lot of the time these exist with no symptoms.
- Amblyopia, or lazy eye.
- Retinoblastoma, the 7th most common form of childhood cancer.
- Congenital glaucoma, diabetes, hypertension, and other ocular conditions.
- We are very proud to offer the Optos Retinal Imaging Device, allowing us to see a wide range of the retina without dilating your child’s eyes.
- Convergence Insufficiency. This can cause eye discomfort, headaches, sleepiness while reading, and blurred vision while working at their school desks. The symptoms can lead your child to struggle in school and be mistaken for acting out, poor behavior, or label your child as a poor student, all because they can’t see and don’t quite have the words to explain what’s wrong. Not being able to see will make it difficult for your child to complete simple tasks at school. It can seriously get in the way of their education and their joy for education.
Coming to the optometrist or any doctor’s appointment can be scary for your little ones. How can you ease their fears and anxiety, and help them enjoy their appointments as much as possible? Well, we have a few ideas and suggestions on the topic and we hope you take them to heart. We promote a healthy lifestyle for your child’s eyes from a very early age, and want their experiences with us to be a very positive one. But a new place filled with new people, sights, and sounds can be very overwhelming to our little ones. Following these suggestions can make these appointments easier on them, and you.
- Know that we are expertly trained to help your children have the best eye care possible and will keep them safe and comfortable.
- If you’re nervous during or about your child’s appointment, they will be too. Follow by example by being calm and collected to help them stay calm and comfortable during their appointments!
- Keep their favorite stuffed animal or toy nearby to help make them feel comfortable, or to help distract them during difficult moments.
- Stay with your child throughout the exam to comfort, have them sit on your lap, or hold your hand.
- Speak to them in calming and encouraging ways. Keep your tone upbeat and light.
- Don’t surprise them with the appointment. Tell them about it beforehand, and talk about what is going to happen. Talk about it often as time leads up to the appointment so they become more and more comfortable with the idea that they are going somewhere new and going to experience something new.
- Show them pictures of the doctors and nurses who will be there at their appointment. Use teaching examples or tools to show them what is going to happen at their appointment that is age-appropriate.
- Ask them if they have any questions or fears, and truthfully answer their questions and walk them through their fears. See if you can find out why they feel this way and if you can eliminate them before you even step foot into the appointment.
- Play make-believe and create a doctor’s visit with them. Walk through the steps of what the appointment will be like during play. Cover their eyes, use a flashlight to shine on their eyes (carefully), and so on.
- Read stories to them about children getting their eyes examed or going to the eye doctor.
- Talk about how and when the doctors will touch their face, look at their eyes, put in eye drops, and how that might feel and how it could sting a little bit.
- Let your child talk to their optometrist and ask any questions they might have.
- Make sure they aren’t hungry or sleepy before their appointments. Make sure it’s after a meal and a nap!
- These appointments could last a while, please be prepared for that. Don’t rush or push for the appointment to be over.
We love to help our youngest patients on their healthy eye journey. We are here to help parents teach their children and to prove the best optic care to everyone in your family and at every age. Please take each of these tips to heart. If you have any more questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to us. We are here for you. We can’t wait to see you soon!