Vision Testing – Just For Kids!
Hi Kids – this page is just for you!
When you go to see the eye doctor, or ophthalmologist (say: of-thul-mo-luh-jist) – a doctor who specializes in eye problems – you have an important job to do!
The doctor and the doctor’s helpers will be completing some special activities; sometimes they call them eye exams, tests or assessments. These activities are done to learn more about how your eyes are working, and what your eye(s) can see.
During these activities, your eye(s) will actually be teaching the doctors about what your eye(s) can do and how much your eye(s) can see when viewing objects, images and letters of different sizes and colours, and what your eye(s) can see at different distances.
What Happens During A Vision Test?
Since babies and children of all ages come for these eye exams, there are a few different activities the doctors will use. For very young children who are still learning the alphabet, numbers and colours, the doctors will often use objects and toys.
For older kids and youth, they will often use letters, numbers and colours on screens, boards or pages. They will ask you to tell them what you can see on the screen, board or page. The doctor may also want to use other tools too, they might include:
- a bright light
- a round magnifying tool
- covering your eye with a special tool that will change what and how you see through that eye.
- covering one of your eyes completely with a patch to assess the how the other eye works all by itself.
What If I Fail The Test?
The good news is you can’t do this wrong or fail this test – it is only for you and your eye(s)! Just do the activity, share what you do see, and the doctor will learn about your vision and how your eye(s) are working.
Where Do I Sit During the Test?
When you are doing these activities, you may be invited to sit on a big comfortable chair. This chair is like a throne for royalty, and sits in the middle of the room where you will be completing these activities. The doctor will invite you to sit on the chair when you arrive in the room. You and your parents can decide if you would feel most comfortable sitting on the chair by yourself, or on your parent’s lap. If you would prefer to sit on your parent’s lap, just ask the doctor.
There may be a time the doctor wants you to sit on the chair by yourself. If this happens, try it out yourself – you CAN do it! If this is more challenging for you, you can practice ahead of time at home with your parents.
The photo at the top of this page is like the chair you may get to sit in!
Can I Prepare for My Vision Test?
Yes you can! It is a good idea to do some pretend play at home and act out what will happen during the vision test, eye exam and other appointments too. This practice can help you feel more comfortable and familiar with what to expect during your visit to the eye clinic. The more you practice at things like sports, music and art, the better you become, and it’s the same with doctor’s appointments – practice really helps!
Sometimes – not every time – when you come for an eye exam or test, the doctor may need to use special medication to better see inside your eye, and know how your eye is working. These medications are delivered to your eyes through eye drops. You can learn more about eye drops here.
What Does the Doctor Do With the Test Results?
All these tests help the doctor and greater medical team make plans for supporting your best vision possible. Sometimes that means after finishing these tests and activities they might recommend glasses or special types of equipment and strategies to help you see your best!
Here is a great video of a young boy called Tyler visiting the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, for a vision test and eye exam.