Questions to ask at your child’s eye exam

When we took Zoe in for her first eye exam, I was still a bit in denial that there was any problem at all.  Add to that Zoe’s meltdown by the end of the exam, and I really wasn’t prepared to ask any questions of the doctor.  At her second appointment, the one in which she was prescribed glasses, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the outcome, but I was.  And again, I was completely unprepared to ask any questions, except for “where on earth will we find glasses for her?”  Luckily, Chris was with us at both appointments, and was able to ask some good questions, and more importantly, pay attention to the answers.

So here, are some questions I can think of, that I wish I’d asked.  For those of you that are experienced at this sort of thing, what other questions do wish you had remembered to ask, or which questions you’re really glad you asked?

  • What is the name of the diagnosis for my child’s vision problem?  Can you spell it for me?  Or can you write it down for me? (suggested by Jodi)
  • Do you have any recommendations for placed to go for more information on this?
  • If I have more questions at a later time, can I get a hold of you to ask them?  What’s the best way / time to do so?
  • When should we make another appointment for my child?
  • Are there things I should watch out for between appointments?  Should I bring my child in if I see those, or just call?
  • If my child requires equipment (glasses, patches, etc), do you have any recommendations for where I could go to get these?
  • Do any of my child’s relatives need evaluation?  (Many conditions run in families and it can be beneficial to evaluate siblings and parents in some cases).  Suggested by Dr. Bonilla-Warford.

14 responses to “Questions to ask at your child’s eye exam

  1. Great list, Ann! I was also in denial at my daughter’s first eye appointment and became overly emotional when the doctor started describing what she perceived as the problem. I was alone, so I came home with very little concrete information for my husband to digest.

    My advice is to have the doctor write down the condition for you (in legible handwriting, of course). More importantly, take someone with you to the apppointment, if possible. My daughter was incredibly upset at the drops/exam and I was too busy comforting her to listen to what the doctor was saying.

    It’s hard for some parents to hear there is a problem with their child. I know it was for me. There was a little bit of denial there, as well as a lot of fear. That’s why this site is so helpful for parents! Keep it up!


  2. This is a great list and I will pass a long the link.

    Another question I’d add is: No any of my child’s relatives need an evaluation. This is particularly true for younger siblings, but many conditions can run in the family and sometimes is it beneficial to do an evaluation of parents.


  3. Thanks Jodi and Nate, those are great suggestions, I’ve added them to the list.

    Jodi, we had the exact same experience – Zoe was terribly upset by the drops and the exam, so I was comforting her and my husband was trying to get all the information.


  4. This is a great list! I too was very upset at Aubrie’s first exam. I was 4 days overdue with my son, she was fighting the exam and the Dr. couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t restrain her (as if my enormous belly wasn’t the answer to his question), plus our Dr. was really rude and said her condition was probably a wide bridge to her nose. I was so irritated with him, shocked that her vision was so poor, and questioning how I was going to get her to wear glasses, where to buy, all that stuff that I didn’t pay enough attention. I was glad that I took my Mom since my husband couldn’t go. My mom is more forceful than me. She asked good direct questions & didn’t let the Dr. belittle us when he tried. I was very glad she went! Our new Dr. is MUCH better & the next time I took Aubrie I had a list of questions on paper to ask him. He did a good job of explaining everything to me. You would think in 1 years time I wouldn’t have more questions, but with glasses, I seem to always have more questions 🙂


  5. This is so true! Its difficult to absorb everything the doctor is telling you, especially at the first appointment when your not sure what to expect, let alone think of intelligent questions to ask. Excellent list of questions!!


  6. thanks for the post, we go tomorrow for Makenna’s first exam since getting her glasses…I am getting my list of questions ready and this was helpful. At our last appt I was so overwhelmed, hoping tomorrow goes better. Thanks again-this site is always such a great resource.


  7. okay so i see that i am not alone in losing the plot at the first examination.
    will be far more prepared for the next one.
    thanks again, i just had a melt down on your other getting started section and i think that in some way i am still in extreme denial.


  8. Its kind of hard to believe that Doctors dont write out the name of the condition. In four years attending, I have never been told what my son has but have just always picked up clues so knew he was long sighted. Thanks


  9. Pingback: when you’ve just found out your young child needs glasses « little four eyes·

  10. Thank you for this list. New to Seattle, I have had a hard time finding a good doctor for my 14-month son. Our recent visit to a doctor left me feeling my questions were stupid–he said “it’s just glasses” local support groups to help get my son to wear his glasses, and he acted like I had two heads when I asked for further reading I could do on the topic. Your list is validating, makes me feel like I should try again to find a doctor who will take my questions seriously.


    • Welcome Nina! It certainly sounds like some searching for a new doctor is in order! I think that for a lot of pediatric eye doctors, children with vision issues are common and some of the doctors forget that it’s while it’s common to them, it’s not common for us, and that helping us understand what’s going on will help us work better with the doctors and will lead to better compliance and ultimately better treatment for our kids.

      Good luck to you!


  11. Pingback: Your stories – the benefits of a second opinion | little four eyes·

  12. It was horrible for us to accept that our 5.5 years old son had vision problem. Few days back his school teacher sent us the message we needed to consult an Eyes Specialist as our son couldn’t see what his teacher wrote on the Board.
    We didn’t expect that his eyesight will that weak. The doctor said he needs glasses of +7.
    We doubted his assessment as our son was playing normally, though he was watching TV from very short distance.
    We went another Eye surgeon and the result was similar. However he suggested +3.5 glasses for him. We are asked to visit the Doctor again after 3 weeks.
    It still very hard to accept it.
    Now we are asking people any other suggestions which can improve so poor vision.
    We have some suggestions we are working on it if our son’s vision is improved I’ll share on this forum.
    Sarwar Kiani


    • Hi Sarwar,
      Since your son is longsighted/farsighted (has a + prescription), he can accommodate and focus on things that are near, but with that strong of a prescription, it means that he’ll be straining his eyes a lot, especially as he does more close up work in school. Kids who are farsighted and don’t get corrective lenses can fall behind academically, because all that reading and writing up close becomes extra hard when you add in the extra effort to focus. The good news is that usually children will outgrow at least some of their farsightedness as they get older. The best advice I can give is to get the glasses now, and see how things go.


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