If you’re a parent to a toddler or a small child under 12, then no doubt taking your kid for an eye exam is one of the most chaotic things ever. Like adults, eye exams for growing children are an important part of their yearly health routine. They ensure your child is not developing any eyesight problems that often start affecting children when they’re young.

According to most eye care professionals, you should take your child for their first optometry sessions when they’re around six months old and should continue doing so once every six months from then on. Whether you’re struggling to make sure everything goes smoothly when you take your child for an eye exam or a parent taking them for the first time, here are a few tips to make the process go smoother.  

A Trip to the Optometrist 

The process of scheduling an appointment with your child’s eye doctor is a bit more complicated than most people think, as there are a couple of things to keep in mind. A typical trip to the eye doctor involving kids can be broken down by the following age grouping- from birth to the first two years, the third and fourth years, and finally when they’re 5 to 6 years old.

Until the age of three, kids usually don’t get extensive tests from optometrists who mostly keep a lookout for common symptoms that can be observed externally and use a simple test of following a midline held in front of their eyes. However, once they hit the age of three, optometrists start vision screening which marks the beginning of proper eye care exams for children

The most common eye problems that affect kids during their early years are strabismus (misalignment of eyes), amblyopia (reduced vision), myopia (short-sightedness), and hypermetropia (farsightedness). If you notice your kids having any of these issues or find them complaining about having these problems, set an appointment with the doctor immediately.

Surviving an Eye Exam  

There is a general clichéd notion that children are only difficult to manage when it comes to dentist appointments, but that’s far from the truth. 

While many children have an easier time with doctor visits, a lot of them usually don’t like them as they associate doctor visits with syringe jabs as unwelcomed probing on their bodies. You should make any trip to the doctor an enjoyable process for your kid to offset this. There are a couple of things you can do to make things better for them. 

Time the Appointment

Schedule an eye exam at the time of day so that kids have more energy and would be more willing/in the mood to be in a doctor’s office. If the kids are tired or in a bad mood, it can potentially make the visit more difficult for that reason alone.

Offer Support

The most important part of surviving an eye exam as a parent is managing your child in the doctor’s office and in the office lobby while waiting for their appointment. Offer support depending on the child’s comfort level. If they seem very nervous, stay in the room and offer to hold them in your lap while the examination is done or hold their hand.

A Comfortable Exam

Another thing you can do is call ahead and check with the doctor to know how the eye exam will be specifically conducted. Some eye clinics use alternative methods that can ease the eye condition evaluation process rather than a “typical” eye exam, which can be more suitable for nervous or fidgety kids.

To reduce your child’s chances of having eye problems, you should get them into the habit of wearing sunglasses whenever they go outside on a regular day. You can buy kids discounted prescription sunglasses both online and in physical stores.

Happy Association

Getting a small child to any health appointment can be difficult, not only for an eye exam or the optometrist. But as long as you follow some basic precautions and measures, making a happy habit out of optometrist appointments will be that much easier.