How to Prepare for Your Child's First Eye Appointment

As few of us remember our first eye appointment, it can be unnerving to take your child to the optometrist for the first time. Visual skills are a critical part of your child’s development. It is important to ensure that they have the best eyesight possible so they can do well in school, sports, and many other activities they will participate in throughout their lives. The way the eye exam is performed will depend on the optometrist. Most early eye exams include going over medical and family history, vision testing and, if need be, assessing which eyeglasses are suitable.


  1. 1
    Book the appointment.
    • While some pediatricians will do a basic eye exam, it is important to book your child in with an optometrist around 6 months of age.[citation needed]
    • At this age, your child will be experiencing sharper vision, increasingly precise colour vision, and improving eye movement.
    • If your child is suffering from any vision issues, it is important to catch them early for the best outcome possible.
  2. 2
    Pick the appointment time.
    • While the time of the appointment may seem of little importance to you, it is important to choose a time where you think your baby will be the most alert. As with the rest of their bodies, their eyes will get fatigued too, and this can affect the results of their vision test.
    • Pick a time that fits with your routine, usually in the morning or after naptime. While babies’ mood and behaviour can be hard to predict, ensuring your child is well rested will make the process easier for all involved.
  3. 3
    Prepare for the appointment.
    • As well as getting your usual bag and daily needs to be organised before you go, it is also important to recall your family medical history and your child’s medical history.
    • Make a mental list or write a list to take with you. Information on both parents’ family history should include details about vision problems such as lazy eyes, near or far sightedness, and any eye diseases such as glaucoma.
    • In terms of your child’s medical history, be sure to tell the optometrist if your child experiences or has experienced any of the following: Premature at birth, late motor development, excessive eye rubbing, frequent blinking, little to no eye contact, issues maintaining gaze on objects, low eye tracking skills
  4. 4
    Know what to expect when the optometrist tests your child's vision.
    • The optometrist will run a few tests to see if your child’s eyesight is developing properly.
    • As babies are too young to use the eye chart adults and older children are tested with, the doctor will use a variety of other tests such as:
      • Pupil Response Tests: Evaluate whether the eyes’ pupils open and close properly
      • Fix and Follow: Determines if your baby is able to fixate and follow an object (such as light) as it moves
      • Preferential Site: Uses cards that will attract your child’s gaze
  5. 5
    Understand that your child may or may not get glasses.
    • If your child does require glasses, do not stress.
    • There are many options available for young children.
    • Your optometrist will work with you and your child to find a pair that is suitable for their level of activity and prescription.
  6. 6
    Know what to do after the appointment.
    • After the first appointment, the optometrist may want to schedule a follow-up appointment, particularly if your child requires glasses.
    • If not, remember to get your child’s eyes re-examined before they start school to ensure they have not developed any issues that will hinder their learning.


  • Prepare for your appointment by making a list of any medical history and family medical history relevant to your child
  • Ask the optometrist office if they require you to bring anything with you
  • Make sure your child is well rested and in a good mood.
  • If your child needs glasses, inform yourself about their condition by asking questions.


  • Tired children will not perform as well in eye exams, affecting the results.
  • Don’t panic if your child does need eyeglasses, it is not the end of the world.
  • Be up front with the optometrist about medical and family history.

Things You'll Need

  • List of family history and your child's medical history
  • Insurance and Medicare Cards

Article Info

Categories: Childhood Health | Articles in Need of Sources