Questions to Ask Your Child's Eye Care Specialist

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Your Observations

When visiting a doctor's office, it's not unusual for parents and children to feel tense and anxious coming to an exam. You can help everyone, including the doctor, by giving a clear, concise picture of how your child functions visually and what your observations and concerns might be. For example:

  • What do you think your child can see?
  • What seems to attract his attention?
  • Can he control his head, or does it wobble or tilt?
  • Is he sensitive to light, or does he stare at it?
  • Does he rub or poke at his eyes?
  • Does he reach for toys—in front or toward one side or the other?
doctor, tvi, mother, and child in an exam room

Providing this kind of information, based on your day-to-day observation of how your child behaves, will help your doctor to make an evaluation. Be sure to tell the doctor about any other health or disability conditions, allergies, and any medications that may have been prescribed by your pediatrician. Also, if you have any additional medical or other relevant records, share them.

Your Questions

You can expect an eye specialist to examine, diagnose, and explain in detail what you need to know about your child's eye condition. Here are some basic questions to ask:

  • What is the diagnosis?
  • What caused the eye problem?
  • Was my child born with it?
  • Is it an inherited condition?
  • What is the prognosis?
  • Is it stable? Will it get better? Will it get worse?
  • Is there any treatment for the condition?
  • Will eyeglasses or contact lenses help?
  • Are there any other problems associated with this condition?
  • Can you tell how much my child can see?
  • What kind of lighting is best for my child?
  • Are there any restrictions on my child's activities?
  • What else do we need to know?

Medical Language

Every profession has its own specialized language and abbreviations, and medicine is not an exception. No matter how nontechnical a doctor's explanations are, there are bound to be times when you feel as if you're listening to a foreign language filled with words that you've heard before but don't quite grasp. Whenever you find yourself in that situation, ask for additional explanations.

If you're sometimes perplexed by your child's eye condition or the acronyms and abbreviations used by eye care providers, these resources can help.

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