It is not uncommon for kids to feel nervous about their first visit to the optometrist! They are unlikely to know what to expect, so parents should try to calm their nerves. Follow these two tips to prepare your child for their first eye exam.
To help alleviate any pre-appointment jitters, it helps to familiarise them, as well as yourself, with the procedures of an eye exam beforehand. If you are not too sure about what happens during an eye test, read on for a quick summary.
Eye exams are usually performed by optometrists and typically last around thirty minutes. They involve various tests, which include measuring your child’s ability to see and using non-invasive technology to examine the internal and external structure of the eye to identify any disease.
The main eye problems to look out for during early childhood are refractive errors such as myopia (short-sightedness) and hypermetropia (far-sightedness), strabismus (eye misalignment), amblyopia (lazy eye), and congenital cataracts. The type of tests that an optometrist will carry out to diagnose these may differ depending on the age of your child.
It is usually difficult for kids under two years old to read vision charts. So the optometrist may use non-invasive devices such as an auto-refractor or retinoscope to measure the way the eye refracts or bends incoming light. This helps them to know whether your child can see clearly.
Older children above the age of 3 years can usually report what they can see on a vision chart. Therefore a visual acuity test is usually required. This test measures the eye’s ability to see objects at a distance. It can help to detect underlying refractive issues like myopia. Some other tests that might be conducted include a colour vision test, where colour blindness is tested for. Or an ocular health test, where your child’s cornea, iris, lens, retina, and eyelids will be examined.
It is usually recommended that your child gets their first test before the age of two. Eye exams are non-intrusive and are therefore less scary than they might sound.
Having a familiar face in the room can help make your child feel more comfortable. It’s also important to be there for them. This is in case you have any questions or the optometrist needs any background information. Stick by your child’s side and offer a hand to hold in case they feel nervous.
Now that your child is up to speed with the ins and outs of eye health and exams, it’s time to book their first appointment. Plano’s online Eye check platform, planoEyecheck, can help connect you to a local optometrist in Singapore. It also helps keep track of past appointments to make sure you’re getting your kids’ eyes checked regularly
In a world where we are increasingly exposed to the negative effects of digital technology, it is more important than ever to stay on top of your kid’s eye health. Taking your child to an optometrist today will help teach them how to take good care of their eyes- a life-long lesson that will benefit them well into the future!
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