I remember when we took our boys to the dentist for the first time. My oldest son, Dexter, was nearly four years old, and I was confident that he would have no issues. It turned out he had a cavity and needed to have it drilled and filled! I was so distraught, feeling like a bad mom for not having taken him sooner, but I’d naively thought that he was too young! I vowed then not to make the same mistake with his eyes.
Recently, Dex has started squinting a bit when he’s close to his computer screen. He’s also complained about “tired eyes” once in a while. Since he’s about to start his first year of school in a few weeks, I wanted to make sure we got him checked out with a comprehensive eye exam from our local Pearle Vision in Murray. It’s where Mark and I both go, so I knew that it would be the best place for him to get the best care.
We arrived just after lunch time, and we checked in. The amazing staff were immediately able to put him at ease by asking about his day and introducing him to the little children’s play area. Then, Andy, one of the vision assistants took him back into the testing room to run the first set of tests.
Dex thought the room was really cool. He set his chin on the chin rests of each machine and looked into the holes to follow Andy’s every instruction. Andy explained what each machine measured, and he made sure that Dexter was never overwhelmed or bored. When it came time for the glaucoma test, where they send a small puff of air into each eye, I’ll admit I held my breath. I was worried that Dexter would be frightened. But with Andy’s gentle guidance, he took it like a champ and even smiled afterward!
We opted to get the full gamut of tests (I didn’t want to be caught out like I was with his teeth!), which included taking pictures of the backs of his eyes through a large machine. This was probably the most difficult test, as it required him to place his eye at the exact right spot. It was taking quite a while, and I was getting tense as I worried that Dexter was getting a little frustrated. But once again Andy came to the rescue when he realized that Dex was just a tiny bit too short. He fixed the issue with a few phone books and set him on top of them, and within less than a minute, we had perfect photos.
Once all the pre-tests were done, we made our way into the exam room, where we met the awesome Dr Gray. Dexter climbed up on the large exam seat and gave me a big thumbs up, as he excitedly waited for the test to begin.
Once again, I was so grateful for the kind staff. Dr. Gray was so good at patiently explaining exactly what he needed Dexter to do, and the entire test went quickly and painlessly. Dexter was able to read letters off of a sign across the room, and he followed instructions brilliantly. The Doctor performed several tests, including one that checked for color blindness. Dex passed with flying colors.
When he was through, I thought we would be leaving, but Dr Gray alerted me that Dexter was somewhat farsighted. He said that most kids are farsighted, but it’s important to discover just how farsighted he really was. He explained that kids are very good at focusing, so he wanted to dilate Dexter’s eyes with some drops, which would take away his ability to focus and allow us to get the correct reading of his prescription. He said he didn’t think that Dex would need glasses, but he wanted to be sure.
It took about fifteen minutes for his eyes to fully dilate, and when they did it was pretty funny to see. One pupil was larger than the other, and he complained about everything being blurry.
Once we were ready, we headed back in to the exam room again, and the doctor performed a few more tests. He changed lenses within his eyes and asked Dexter which of two options was less blurry. I was very proud because Dexter was extremely firm in his answers – much more so than I ever am on an eye test.
Once the exam was over, the doctor was satisfied that Dexter did need glasses after all! He wrote out his prescription and sent us out to pick out our favorite frames.
Dexter had great fun trying on various pairs of glasses. His favorites by far were a pair of hot pink cat eye glasses, but he decided against them in the end. He also really liked these wire-framed glasses that I thought were absolutely adorable.
In the end, though, he ended up choosing an adorable pair by Nike, which matched his shirt. He said they reminded him of Ninja Turtles, so we told him how great they looked, and we went up to get measured. The awesome assistant, Tammy, used a handheld device to measure his eyes, and she placed the order to get him his new glasses. We ended up going with a polycarbon lens, as we were advised that they are far more durable and impact resistant – an important consideration when getting glasses for young kids!
All in all, our experience couldn’t have been better. Dexter felt like a million bucks, and he hasn’t stopped talking about his new glasses. He can’t wait to start kindergarten, and I’ve got the peace of mind of knowing he won’t fall behind because of an inability to see properly. After all, 90% of children under the age of six who should be wearing prescription glasses are not. And since 80% of what children learn is through their eyes, it is SO important to have them tested early and make sure that they are not one of the 10% of preschoolers and 25% of kids in K – 6th grade who have vision deficiencies.
I’m so grateful for the quality care we received at Pearle Vision, and I am so glad that we have had this experience now, so we know what to expect when it’s time for the other kids to go to the eye doctor. In fact, since this appointment, I’ve learned that it is recommended kids start vision screening at age three! So I’ve made an appointment for Daniel to have his eyes tested next month to ensure we catch any issues early. I don’t want to take any chances!