What can I expect at a pediatric eye exam?

Taking an eye exam yourself is usually no big deal. You can give feedback and you know what you’re getting into. There are no needles or uncomfortable devices involved.

For a child, though, it can be different. It can be more challenging to do a pediatric eye exam than an adult eye exam. Children aren’t as able to articulate what they’re seeing. They have shorter attention spans, and it’s harder to keep them on point. Their bodies are still growing. Doing an eye exam on a child as opposed to an adult is a harder job. But a well-trained optometrist will make sure your child gets exactly the right prescription for their needs.

Creating a comfortable experience for children

When you arrive at the office, the doctor will usually do everything they can to make the child feel at home. Offices that do pediatrics on a regular basis may keep toys on hand to keep children occupied before they go into the examination room.

The examination itself will often involve the parent. Sometimes the child may sit in a parent’s lap while the exam is going on. With children, it can be hard to get direct feedback, especially if the child is very young, so the optometrist may have to rely on alternate measures.

Getting an accurate prescription

An accurate prescription requires a little extra work with children. Older children may be able to give an optometrist subjective information. Small children and babies require inference.

A pediatric optometrist often keeps a drawer full of toys so as to have something new and interesting to grab a child’s attention with each time they move to the next stage of an exam. Since attention spans are so short, each toy is often used for just one thing before moving on. They can be used to test peripheral vision, with one held in focus and the other brought up from the side until the child turns its head.

With babies it may just be a case of getting the infant to look at the optometrist’s face, then follow it with their eyes. The optometrist will usually keep each test very short so as to not tax a young child’s attention span.

Sometimes there are eye issues that may be visible in a child’s pictures but not as much in person. Your optometrist may ask you if you have any videos or photos that might indicate visual issues.

Eye exams for children may be harder than they are for adults, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a good experience for both parents and kids. With a little bit of ingenuity, it’s possible to find out exactly what a child needs—even if they don’t know it themselves, or even know how to say it. Here at Oklahoma City Vision we know exactly how to deal with children’s vision issues. Give us a call today and find out what we can do for your family.