- Registration on arrival.
- Vision checking: reading out charts with letters, numbers, symbols and pictures depending on the child's abilities and age.
- In very young children, the initial examination (or sometimes the complete examination) and if required an orthoptic assessment, might be performed while sitting on a parent’s lap, a few feet away from the examiner. The child will be shown toys and lights and a torch like instrument will be used to examine the front and the inside of the eye (ophthalmoscope).
- When the child feels more comfortable and in older children the examination will be done using a slit lamp - a big camera like instrument that requires the child to place his chin on a stand and forehead against a band. Each eye will be examined using a bright light for a few seconds.
- Refraction (checking for glasses): This is when the focusing ability of each eye is checked and corrected using lenses on a trial frame (worn like a pair of glasses). Usually performed if the vision is lower than should be, for the child’s age.
- Dilated exam: This is where eye drops are used to dilate the pupil (enlarge the aperture that allows light into the eye). This will allow a better view into the back of the eyes and also will be used to get an accurate check for glasses (cycloplegic refraction). These drops will reduce the vision, especially the near vision, and glare will be a complaint for anywhere between a few hours to around 24 hours. Occasional allergies to the drops such as red eye, fever, headache etc., may occur.
Tips to help make it a pleasant visit
- It might be better to not call the visit ``a visit to the eye doctor in hospital``. Instead maybe a ``visit to play some games and take some pictures to make sure the eyes are healthy``. Make all the procedures from vision checking to the examination all challenging games rather than procedures.
- Take the child through the possible steps while at the exam, using the pictures below as reference. If the child is too small to understand, tell them they are going to take pictures of their eyes.
- If drops might be needed, explain this to the child as the ‘Magic Swimming drop game’ (a drop that makes you feel you are under water in a pool...where the eyes sting slightly and everything appears blurry) and play it at home by using a medicine dropper and instilling a few drops of water into each eye.