Children’s fear of white coats develops when they are very young. Fear of separation from parents, not knowing what is happening to them and what they will do to them, and even guilt that they have done something wrong as punishment for going to the clinic, are just some of the reasons why you should prepare your child before their first meeting with ophthalmologist. Usually, depending on the age of the child, the first examination comes down to introducing and communicating with the ophthalmologist in order to gain confidence and feel comfortable in the office. And you, dear parents, have a great influence whether the eye examinations will be positive and fun. Here are some tips to prepare you and your child for doctor visits:
  1. Familiarize yourself with the role of eyes and eyesight
Draw the eye while explaining to your child or, through play, show them what they will do during the examination. Make a vision board and close one eye while trying to read the numbers. You can even take a flashlight and go over their eyes to let them know that there are tools that will be used during the examination.  
  1. Inform them about the upcoming eye examination
You should always inform your child about each examination as knowing the need for the examination will make the experience less stressful. Introduce the ophthalmologist and the medical team in a positive way and explain that they take care of the children to grow and develop healthily and that during the examination they will be able to ask everything that interests them related to their eyes.
  1. Explain the process of pupil dilation
To make them feel more comfortable when a medical person stands over them dripping drops and not to be scared, put artificial tears at home from time to time. Warn them that it may burn their eye a little from the drops, but that feeling passes quickly.
  1. Take your child’s favorite toy with you to make them feel comfortable
While waiting in the waiting room for the pupils to dilate, the child may become impatient and irritable because the child as a child does sit in place for long. In our waiting rooms we have children’s toys and coloring books that they can play with, but if they are more anxious and do not react well to changes, it is best to take their favorite toy with you that will make them feel more secure.
  1. Recognize guilt
A child who goes to an ophthalmologist due to illness or other eye conditions may have vague feelings of guilt associated with it. Talk to them about it in a calm way and encourage your child that the onset of the illness is not because they did something wrong or forgot to do it. Regardless of the child’s age, the ophthalmologist knows exactly what to say, how to react, and how to direct the child to cooperate. At the end of the examination, the ophthalmologist “rewards” the child with positive comments, a gift for a successful first ophthalmological examination. Always keep in mind that the child’s reaction to a particular situation is in fact a picture of your relationship in that particular situation. If you are upset at the examination and act with a dose of distrust of the ophthalmologist, your child will notice it. If you are really upset, talk to your ophthalmologist before the examination about everything that interests you.