Many parents want to learn as much as they can about their child’s diagnosis and what the future will look like for their child. Developing an understanding of the different eye care professionals your child may be seen by, questions you can ask, and what you can expect at an appointment will empower you and your child to more clearly understand your child’s eye condition.

Do You Find Yourself Wondering:

If your child has low vision, what can my child see? Can they see you from across the room? Can they see the smile on your face as you watch them play? To answer questions like these and understand what your child is seeing, you may want to determine ways to stimulate your child’s vision.

It’s possible for you to simulate your child’s vision, but it’s important to remember that because you have “normal” vision, you already understand the world visually. Therefore, you may not exactly be duplicating your child’s experience. If your child was born with blindness or low vision or acquired it before age two, they have never been able to see “normally” and their sense of the world may be very different from yours. If your child has lost vision later in life, they may have some visual memory that provides visual references to when they use their vision today.

If you are interested, ask your child’s eye doctor to recommend a way for you to simulate your child’s vision. The doctor may be able to put special lenses in a pair of eyeglasses and have you put them on to get an idea of what your child is seeing.

Try doing activities you typically expect your child to do, such as finding a toy on a shelf, locating an item in a drawer, or looking for a specific picture in a book. Note the strategies you use to accomplish the task—do you:

  • Tilt your head
  • Hold objects closer
  • Move closer to an object or person
  • Use your hands to get information
  • Use your hearing

You’ll want to pay attention when you watch your child doing the same activities, and if you think any of the strategies you discovered may be helpful to your child.

What Happens at the Doctor’s Office?

For many parents, taking their child to an eye doctor appointment, whether with an ophthalmologist or optometrist, can be stressful. This may sometimes be your experience, too. Your child may or may not cooperate with medical staff, your questions may or may not get answered, and you may come away unsure of what exactly it was that the doctor did during the appointment.

Trying to prepare for the visit ahead of time may help. Writing down a list of questions and concerns can be useful in getting the information you need. Becoming familiar with what to expect when you take your child to an eye doctor can also help you prepare your child and yourself so that the appointment goes more smoothly, and you gain a better understanding about your child’s visual impairment.

Do you want to have much of what you need in one printable document? Use the downloadable toolkit for a summary of what you need.