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How to Make Your Child's First Visit to the Optometrist a Success

A child at their first visit to the optometrist

How to Create a Great First Opto Visit

The first visit to the eye doctor can be a little overwhelming for young patients. No matter how welcoming the staff, small children may feel shy or find vision testing machines and gadgets a little intimidating. Luckily, parents can make visits much less daunting by following a few of these suggestions.

Don't Keep Your Child in Suspense

Whether you're 3 or 33, new situations are a lot less scary if you know what to expect. Before your child's visit, explain the purpose of the visit. (You want to make sure he or she can see well.) Use age-appropriate language to explain the various steps in the eye examination process, which usually include a brief review of your child's medical and vision history, a physical examination of the eyes and eyelids, and a visual assessment to determine if your child can see clearly.

During the assessment, your son or daughter will be asked to look at images or letters. Preschoolers may view several large capital Es that face in different directions. They'll use their hands to indicate which direction the arms of the Es point. If your child knows the letters of the alphabet, he or she will read the traditional Snellen eye chart.

Eye drops may be used to dilate your child's pupils. Dilation helps the optometrist view the retina, a light-sensing layer of cells that line the back of the eye. Although the drops aren't painful, they will make your son or daughter's vision a little blurry. Be sure to mention that the eye doctor will also look in your child's eyes with a small light during the examination.

Choose the Best Appointment Time

Kids, like all of us, tend to feel a little more energetic at certain times of the day. If you want to make the visit as pleasant as possible, choose a time when your son or daughter is usually happy and well-rested. Scheduling visits during your child's usual meal or nap time, immediately after a nap, or at the end of a long day can result in a cranky child who is reluctant to participate in the vision assessment.

Appointments usually last an hour or less, but may take longer if your child's eyes are dilated, several of your children will receive examinations, or you want to select eyeglass frames for your son or daughter at the end of the visit. If you plan to schedule a group visit, it may make sense to bring the other parent or another adult with you to help supervise your children.

Distract and Engage

The eye doctor will make every effort to see your child at the appointed time, but that doesn't mean you won't spend a little time in the waiting room completing paperwork. Prepare for the short wait by bringing a few toys or books from home to keep your little ones occupied.

Offer a Little Reassurance

Some kids hop on the exam chair without prompting, while others aren't quite as brave. If your young child is nervous or anxious, feel free to hold him or her in your lap during the assessment and examination. Older children may feel more confident if you stay by their sides or sit in a nearby chair during the visit with the optometrist.

Speak Up

Feel free to ask questions and share your concerns with the optometrist. As parents are often the first people to notice changes that may be signs of vision problems, your input is encouraged.

Is it time for your child's first eye examination? The American Optometric Association recommends that children visit the optometrist for the first time at 6 months old, followed by another visit at age three, then bi-yearly visits from 6 to 18. Contact us to schedule a convenient appointment for your son or daughter.

Sources:

American Optometric Association: Recommended Eye Examination Frequency for Pediatric Patients and Adults

https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/comprehensive-eye-and-vision-examination/recommended-examination-frequency-for-pediatric-patients-and-adults

All About Vision: Eye Exams for Children, 5/18

https://www.allaboutvision.com/eye-exam/children.htm

WebMD: Your Child’s Eye Exam: What to Expect

https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/child-eye-exam

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  • "Had my annual eye exam this morning at Lake Lanier Eye Care. I elected to have all the tests and afterwards,Dr. Bordner reveiwed them indificually with me and reported that my vision was really good! Excellent experience with Amy, Diane and Dr. Brett Bordner, OD."
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  • "My visit to Lake Lanier Eye Care was pleasant and painless. From start to finish, the staff there exemplifies excellence and professionalism and has made a visit to the optometrist’s office an experience I look forward to rather than hope to avoid."
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    Allison Fuller / Google Review
  • "Dr. Brett Bordner is fantastic! He is very patient and spends a lot of time with each and every person and explains everything he does. He makes you feel valued and very comfortable throughout the appointment. Highly recommended!"
    Sarah Clark / Google Review
  • "his was an amazing experience. The staff is extremely professional and the doctor was very knowledgeable. I highly recommend them!!!!"
    Laura Milum / Google Review
  • "My husband and I came to Lake Lanier Eye Care because the people are extremely friendly. We came in on our scheduled time and were completely done in 20 minutes! The service, cost and location are TOP NOTCH!
    Check out the Daytona Imaging. The service they provide with this imaging tops any dilation I have ever had. If you need help, call! They are ready to answer any question."
    Hayley Bean / Google Review
  • "The staff at Lake Lanier go all in. They are friendly from the moment they pick up the phone to the moment you walk out. My wife and I were excited to meet them the minute we called and couldn’t wait to get in! I highly recommend getting the Daytona Imaging. It is interesting to see your eye AND you don’t need dilation! Win, win!
    Conveniently located in Costco, so get you’re shopping done right after. You’ll be able to see what you’re getting then!"
    Cayce Koehler / Google Review
  • "Dr. Brett and his staff are very nice and extremely helpful. Easy and quick appointment. I highly recommend theake Lanier Eyecare at Costco in Cumming"
    Roella Day / Google Review
  • "Took care of an eye infection and very professional in my treatment."
    Ronald Swanson / Google Review
  • "My whole family uses this practice. Convenient location, great office staff, late day appointments and weekends too make this the perfect eye care facility for us."
    Bekki Davis / Google Review
  • "Staff is so nice & helping. Occulist was very nice & knowledgable . Felt very relaxed after mine eye check up."
    shweta feb / Google Review
  • "I was struggling with wearing glasses and contacts so Dr. Brett suggested I try Ortho K. After a short time period my vision was 20/20 and I no longer needed my glasses or contacts during the day. He was knowledgeable and took the time to explain the process making it a far more comfortable experience."
    Melody Million / Google Review
  • "I was blown away by this practice. The doctor & all the people there are so, so kind. Also, their equipment was really awesome. I feel like over the years I haven’t been getting the best exams as this equipment was far superior to other places. I was really amazed by it & the huge difference in my eye sight in one year leads me to believe that is obvious to be true.
    Also, I had been in a really bad car accident where I hit the windshield & has 2 dark black eyes. It was a coincidence that I needed a new prescription for my contacts. Having them exam my eyes and do the extra testing gave me such a huge peace.
    I could go on as I really appreciate a great business with super kind people who all do their job so well. I took my mom back a week later & she agreed. I will continue to go there for years to come."
    A. D. / Google Review
  • "Great folks here! Very helpful. Get your eyes checked people!"
    Kim Zweig / Facebook Review
  • "Ann is so sweet and professional at the same time. got me scheduled very quickly! Dr Bordner is very kind and makes you feel taken care of"
    Allison Kristen Keever / Facebook Review
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    Rob Zweig / Google Review
  • "The staff was very friendly and efficient - highly recommend this office ."
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  • "Great doctor and staff, very welcoming!"
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  • "The doctor is very knowledgeable and kind. The entire staff was very helpful. I will be returning yearly!"
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