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Knowledge is Power – A Child’s First Eye Exam

Girl wears glasses photo As every parent knows, there is a seemingly never ending list of “first” experiences with your child. The vast majority of them are fun and enjoyable as your child discovers the world around them and develops their own personality and likes, etc.

But there are also a number of experiences that aren’t necessarily bad, yet might not be as a much fun as playing Angry Birds. One of those things is the first “real” visit to the eye doctor. No kid likes going to the doctor and while the mention of a visit to the eye doctor might not have the same knee-jerk reaction many children have when they hear they’re going to the see a doctor – are needles going to be involved in the visit seems to be the biggest concern – there’s still a wariness about what they’re in for.

Some parents notice may notice some unease on their child’s part when they tell their children they have an upcoming appointment.and for some an eye doctor visit may never generate any fear at all.

Children may have questions like “Why do I have to go to the eye doctor if I can see okay?” These questions can be a segway from an uneasy conversation to a fun learning experience.

Opening up about a parent’s experiences at the eye doctors when they were kids is often very comforting and educational. Parents may tell him about eye charts and eye drops. Opening up about past experiences often instills confidence in the child and makes them feel they are able to do those things too.

Make a pseudo-eye chart and place it on the refrigerator and try backing up to see how far away they can stand and still read it. Parents can go online and look at pictures of eyes and illustrations of the inside of the eye. This will often make the child curious and eager to learn more. Talk about how delicate your eyes are and how important it is to keep them healthy.

Parents can tell that although they know a fair amount about their eyes, that their child could ask the eye doctor any question he or she could think up about their eyes and they’d get an even better answer. As their curiosity grows you will see their confidence growing as well.

By the time you are done talking, they typically are excited and start asking how long till their eye exam.

One of the most basic things about parenting and fear is that when children have even the smallest amount of knowledge and understanding about something of concern for them, their fear disappears faster than the last few M&Ms in the pack.

Empowering your children with your past experiences and providing them with knowledge may not remove all of their worry, but quite often you will see a change in their attitude about the upcoming eye exam.

 

Written by Dr. Shah

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