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How Can I Prepare My Adolescent Child for Their First Eye Exam by an Ophthalmologist?

How Can I Prepare My Adolescent Child for Their First Eye Exam by an Ophthalmologist?

Every year, your pediatrician checks your child’s eyes during their annual physical exam. If your child hasn’t had problems with vision, as they grow older and get ready to leave the nest, it’s prudent to make an appointment for a more thorough eye exam. Our board-certified ophthalmologists with Wolchok Eye Associates, PA, provide comprehensive eye exams that check for eye diseases and disorders. These exams are different from exams that your loved one had during childhood at the pediatrician’s office. 

Types of eye exams 

There are two types of eye exams in childhood and adolescence. Vision screening is the first type, which tests for visual acuity or sharpness of vision and should be 20/20 or close to it. If the screening shows that your child has a refractive error and is nearsighted or farsighted, you may have visited an optometrist, where your child got fitted for eyeglasses. 

Childhood vision screening also identifies strabismus, or eye misalignment, meaning your child’s eyes don’t look at one place. In addition, it can identify eye cancer and detect amblyopia, often called lazy eye, which indicates poor visual acuity, even with glasses. If the vision screening identifies these eye disorders or suspects other issues, you get referred to an ophthalmologist. Most children, thankfully, have normal vision. 

Preparing your child or adolescent for a comprehensive eye exam 

Your teen needs to complete a detailed questionnaire about family history, so it’s helpful if you’re in the reception area while your child completes the form. You complete the form if your child is too young to do it for themselves. 

Explain to your child that the doctor puts drops in each eye to dilate the pupil, the dark center of the eye, allowing them to see the eye structures better. Your child rests in a comfortable chair for 20 or 30 minutes, waiting for the drops to take effect. 

Once the eyes are dilated, your child places their forehead against a large metal piece of equipment called an ophthalmoscope, a mirror that reflects light into the eyes. The doctor looks into your child’s eyes from the other side of the ophthalmoscope and shines a bright light into each eye. 

Explain that it’s critical to maintain focus and keep their eyes open when the light is shining directly into their eyes. Your Wolchok eye specialist checks the cornea, lens, retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels in the eye for abnormalities. 

Next, your child’s doctor tests their peripheral vision, holding up fingers or pencils in different positions to determine if they are detected. 

Your Wolchok provider also checks the curve of the cornea to detect whether your child has astigmatism. Checking for color blindness can be done if your child confuses colors. 

During a visual acuity test, your child reads letters on an eye chart one at a time with one eye covered. The doctor flips lenses back and forth to determine whether your child has a refractive error and to decide on the prescription. 

Call Wolchok Eye Associates, PA, or book an appointment for your child through our online portal today. A thorough eye exam by an ophthalmologist assures that your loved one’s eyes are healthy.

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