WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE FIRST VISIT
We recommend that you come to your visit about 15 minutes early so you can fill in the necessary insurance and office forms. The exam itself will take about an hour. Federal privacy laws now require that a parent or legal guardian accompany your child to this first visit. THERE CAN BE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS FEDERAL REGULATION.
After being called in by Dr. Kronwith, he will take a history of your child and ask you to describe your concerns. Then, depending upon your child's age, various tests will begin. These will include visual acuity testing to rule out amblyopia, external eye examination, tests of motility to diagnose strabismus and examinations of the eye using various pieces of equipment. During this time, the doctor will attempt to keep your child's attention via various methods including hand held toys and TV cartoons. This is all absolutely painless.
After this initial part comes "The Drops!" This is the part of the exam that most children dislike and sometime struggle against. This is, however, the most important part of the exam. By putting in drops of medicine that dilate the pupils, the doctor will be able to look into the inside of the eye and determine, among other things, the need for glasses and the presence of ocular pathology including tumors, internal bleeding and signs of hypertension, diabetes and other diseases. Even if a child is very young and without external signs of a vision problem, the dilated exam often shows a need for glasses (see discussions on amblyopia and strabismus). The drops themselves may sting very slightly for about 30 seconds. The feeling is about the same as getting swimming pool water in your eyes. You and your child will then spend about 40 minutes in the waiting room while the drops take effect. You will then be called back in for the remainder of the exam.
After the exam, Dr. Kronwith will discuss the findings and make arrangements for follow-up exams if necessary. You will then check out with the staff.
Your child's eyes will remain blurry due to the dilating drops. This blurriness can last anywhere from 4 to 24 hours or, rarely, 48 to 72 hours. This is normal and nothing to worry about. If it makes your child more comfortable, sun glasses can safely be worn until the pupils return to their correct size.
It's also a good idea, if your child is less than 3, to bring him/her in hungry, with his/her bottle, sippy cup or whatever is used to drink from. Then, during the exam when the most cooperation is needed, giving your child a drink will usually keep the child calm and allow the exam to proceed smoothly. This will only work, though, if the child is already somewhat hungry and thirsty.
And kids, don't forget to ask for your stickers!