What Should I Expect At My Child's First Eye Exam?
First, a medical history form will be completed for the examining doctor to review. A medical assistant or technician will help start the exam by reviewing the history and reason for the visit, and then will take an initial measurement of the eye behind a machine called an autorefractor. This will give an estimate of your child's focusing error. Then, we will check your child's vision (distance and near), depth perception, and color vision, all dependent on the age and ability of your child. Other tests may be done as well.
When the child sees our pediatric ophthalmologist, the eye alignment, prescription measurement, and eye health evaluation will be completed. The doctor may use a phoropter (a special machine used to switch multiple lenses in front of your eyes to correct vision), usually for children ages 5 years and older, to determine the refractive error ("refraction") of the eye (farsighted, nearsighted, astigmatism) and the need for glasses. Alternatively, the doctor may use a retinoscope (a small handheld instrument along with loose lenses) instead of, or in addition to, the phoropter. A slit lamp - or microscope - and a special magnifying lens are used to help evaluate the internal health of the eyes. Eye drops will likely be used to more accurately measure the refraction ("cycloplegic exam") and to facilitate the eye health exam as well.