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How to Prepare for An Ophthalmology Visit and What to Expect
Thanks for choosing us for your child's healthcare needs. Let's work together to ensure your child receives the best possible care.
Our team has prepared a video for you and your child to watch to prepare for their eye exam. It is available below in English and in Spanish. Scroll further down on this page for more information.
Preparing for Your Visit
Please bring the following with you:
Your child’s glasses (if applicable).
Medication prescribed previously for your child.
Medical records and reports from other doctors or hospitals.
Call your medical insurance provider directly to confirm coverage and benefits. We are not contracted with any vision insurance plans.
Please bring your insurance card and co-payment, which is collected when you check-in.
Ophthalmology visits tend to be long in nature, so we recommend you bring books, toys, snacks, diapers, or whatever else you and your child may need while spending a long time with us.
What to Expect During Your Ophthalmology Visit
A parent is welcomed in the exam room with the patient. The exam itself is not painful, and most children enjoy it. We may need to hold your child’s eye open at certain points during the exam.
Your child may receive dilation drops. It takes between 30 to 60 minutes for dilating drops to work before the doctor can examine your child.
When medically appropriate, your child may be first seen by an orthoptist (a certified non-physician specialist trained in the evaluation of vision and ocular motility).
For new visits, expect to spend up to three (3) hours with us. Return visits are shorter but can last up to three hours as well.
Eye drops during your child’s exam:
Nearly all new patients and many returning patients receive drops during an eye examination. The purpose of this medication is to make it possible for the doctor to get a better look inside the eyes (by enlarging or dilating the pupils) and to determine more accurately their refractive or optical condition (so that glasses can be prescribed, if necessary).
Dilating drops are given after vision and other eye functions have been tested by the doctor. Usually this is done by the medical assistant in a special room, but sometimes the doctor gives the drops in the examination room. Younger children receive a small reward after allowing drops to be placed in their eyes.
Most children need to receive two or three different kinds of drops and, after a few minutes, one or more of these may need to be given a second time. The drops cause mild stinging that lasts for a minute or two when they are placed in the eye. This discomfort can be reduced by giving an additional anesthetic (numbing) drop first.
You and your child may leave the area while waiting for dilating drops to work (this takes between 30 to 60 minutes). If you do, please let the assistant or receptionist know where you are going. We will be happy to offer you a pager and page you when you are needed to return.
Younger children often become sleepy following drops. Mild flushing of the skin sometimes develops. More severe reactions are rare, but if you notice anything you are concerned about after drops are given, let us know. Please inform the medical assistant or one of the doctors.
Dilating drops produce temporary blurring of vision that may make it difficult for school-age children to return to class or do homework assignments on the day of the exam.
Your child’s eyes will not be harmed by exposure to bright light after dilation but wearing sunglasses (we can supply a disposable pair) may make your child more comfortable. The pupils may appear larger than usual for several days, but normal eye function returns by the next morning.