A Kids’ Guide to Eye Exams

Going to the eye doctor for the first time can be overwhelming for young kids. This video will help them know what to expect.

Is it hard for you to see what your teacher is writing on the board? Does your head kinda hurt when you read? Or are you starting to hate recess because you feel clumsy?

Don’t worry! You might just need glasses.

Seeing the eye doctor is nothing to be afraid of. Here’s what an eye exam is like from start to finish. (For more, read What Happens at the Eye Doctor’s Office here.)

What to Expect In Your Eye Exam

First, you’ll sit in a big chair. There will be lots of cool-looking machines nearby.

  • One is the autorefractor. It’s a boxy-looking thing that automatically calculates your vision. And all you have to do is look inside at a little picture.
  • Next, you’ll stare into the tonometer. This time, you’ll see a green dot and get a light puff of air on to each eye. The air puff measures how healthy your eyes are.

Did you know that kids with vision problems should get their eyes checked every year? Click here to find a time that fits your schedule

Questions Your Eye Doctor May Ask You

Eye doctors like to ask lots of questions. Like:

  • “What do you like to do in school?”
  • “Do you play a lot of video games?”
  • “What kind of sports do you play?”

Your answers help them figure out if you’re having trouble seeing well.

What Your Eye Doctor Is Looking For

The eye doctor will shine a little light in your eyes to make sure your pupils are healthy. Your pupils are the tiny black dots in the center of your eye.

They’ll also cover one eye at a time and ask you to look at different objects to see how your eyes work together.

Next up is the stereopsis test to check how well you can tell if something is near or far away. You’ll put on a special pair of glasses, look at a picture, and name the animals you see.

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How Your Eye Doctor Knows if You Need Glasses

Now it’s time to look into more cool machines.

  • The slit lamp is a big microscope with a bright light. When the doctor looks through the microscope, they can see every part of your eye, even the very back.
  • Finally, you’ll look through these crazy big glasses at a line of letters. The glasses are part of a machine called a phoropter.

The doctor switches the lenses while you’re looking at the letters. Some lenses make the letters look clearer, and some make them look worse. Your job is to tell her when they look the clearest.

If you’ve been having trouble seeing, this machine helps your doctor find the exact lenses to give you almost perfect vision.

That’s it!

If you do need glasses, you’ll pick out frames you like.

It might take a little while to get used to wearing them, but pretty soon, you’ll love how much easier it is to play and read.

Learn more about Kids Eye Exams at America's Best here. And remember, comprehensive exams from our licensed optometrists are free when you purchase any two pairs.

Recommended reading:

3 Vision Problems That School Screenings Often Miss

How to Spot Vision Problems in Children Who Are Learning to Read