Going to the doctor, even an eye doctor, can be a daunting experience for a child. You can help make the process easier for them by preparing them in a few ways. Here are things you can do to help your child feel ready for their eye exam (from a specialist such as Envision Eyecare - Dr. Erika Duggan and Dr. Marilyn Lehrner).
Explain to them what will happen
Children have vivid imaginations, especially when fear takes over. Explain to your child that the eye doctor uses a large machine to measure their eyes and gives them a chart they get to read from. Tell them there are no needles and that the procedure is painless, and that you can be in the room with them the whole time. Compare the equipment to something cool, like how machines see right through their eyes like a superhero with X-ray vision. This makes the experience sound almost fun!
Make your child comfortable
If your child has long hair, pull it away from their face in a ponytail so the eye doctor doesn't have to touch their face to move their hair. Have your child wear a plain t-shirt so material doesn't bulk up and get in the way of equipment. Try to avoid jewelry, such as necklaces or earrings, as they can get in the way of machines and cause discomfort. If your child wants to bring with them a blanket or a toy for comfort, allow them to. This can help them feel more in control, and can help them relax as the exam continues.
Get there early
The distraction of many eyeglasses to choose from and try on while your child waits to be seen will help make their eye exam more fun. Get there early enough so your child doesn't get ushered into an exam room right away, and actually has time to get used to the facility. Bring coloring books and crayons, your phone for movies and games, or a book for your child to read to help distract them while they await their turn.
Avoid bringing other children with you
You may think that siblings will help distract your child, but they may actually pick up on fears and use them to taunt or tease the patient. If you can, leave other children at home so your child is comforted by your presence alone.
Going to the eye doctor can be daunting for many kids. You can make the experience much more enjoyable by preparing your child for what they can experience.