We all know some of the first health measures in a child’s life: height and weight, the first teeth appearing, first steps, and more. Don’t forget about your child’s eye health. Even if their first eye exam isn’t top of mind like a general doctor’s visit, it still can be an important part of overall health.
If your child is seeing the world “just fine,” that’s great. However, if their vision is impaired, clarity from corrective lenses might be wonderful for everyday activities. When deciding when to schedule the first eye exam, consider the whole family’s health: If you have other family members with eye issues, you might want to set up an exam when your child is a toddler. Otherwise, just before kindergarten is a reasonable time for the first eye exam.
Amblyopia, commonly known as "lazy eye" is a condition where one eye is weaker than the other. It can be a problem for your child’s depth perception, but a lazy eye is correctable with eyewear or even eye drops. Another common eye problem is crossed eyes, when one or both eyes turn inward or outward. This can be treated by an ophthalmologist while your child is young to prevent further issues.
If your child has no problem with regular doctor visits, the eye doctor could be a piece of cake. No matter what, be honest about what will happen—and why—so your child trusts the process and knows in advance. If they are nervous for the eye exam, help them to understand that the reason you are visiting the doctor is so they can see better, especially the things they love, like pets and games!
Here are things you could tell your child before the visit—feel free to adapt to your voice and your child’s personality:
You might need a few tips about what to expect at an eye exam, too! Before you go, make sure you have your child’s medical records, including current prescriptions, conditions, medical history, and allergies. Of course, make sure you talk with your child about what will be happening, as outlined above. It might even end up being a fun adventure!
Parents are the first line of defense for the health of their child’s vision. Make preventative care part of your child’s health milestones to support eye health for life.
Don’t have a VSP plan yet? Enroll online today and start by finding the right vision insurance plan for you and for your child.