Like any doctor appointment, an eye exam can be a little bit frightening for a child if they aren't sure what to expect. By setting them at ease beforehand, the appointment will go much more smoothly and your child will leave with good memories of their exam and doctor. The following tips can help you prepare your child.
Tip #1: Play act a visit to the eye doctor
An effective way to set your child at ease is to play act a trip to the eye doctor. Print an eye chart and provide them with a spoon so they can take turns covering their eye and reading the chart. Then, sit them in a chair and take turns "examining" each eye by gently holding the eye open. Don't actually play act drops and light tests, though. Instead, use an empty dropper to "pretend" drop and a magnifying glass instead of a light. Finally, read a book or watch a show that features a child having their eyes checked.
Tip #2: Fill out paperwork ahead of time
The less time spent waiting, the less cranky your child will become. Contact the receptionist and see if it is possible to fill out medical histories and intake forms in advance. Many will mail or email you copies, which you can fill out from the comfort of home and bring in with you to the appointment.
Tip #3: Make a list
Young children are often cranky by the end of a long eye appointment. This is why it is important to make a list of all your questions before you go to the doctor. This way you can look it over and make sure you didn't forget anything at the end, when you may be dealing with an upset child. Also, most doctors understand that you may have more questions later, so don't be afraid to call and ask if you remember something later.
Tip #4: Plan for dilation
In many cases, a child's eye appointment is due to a referral, so it will likely be a full exam with dilation. This means there will be some additional time spent in the waiting room as the dilation takes affect. Bring a few toys, along with a snack and beverage, to keep your child occupied. Skip anything that requires lots of eye strain, like books or electronic devices. Also, don't forget to bring a pair of sunglasses for them to wear when you leave the appointment.
Contact an eye doctor in your area for more help.