The Comprehensive Pediatric Optometrist Toolkit
As an optometrist, you're familiar with the essential tools for treating patients: lens bars, a retinoscope, a binocular indirect ophthalmoscope, and an entertaining fixation object. But having the right tools doesn't necessarily mean you're creating an experience that pediatric patients will enjoy. Here are a few SmileMakers suggested - and more importantly kid-approved - tools for your kit!
Say "monocular occluding glasses" 5 times fast!
Kids, especially young children, seem to get the most fussy when adults need them to sit still - like in a doctor's office during an eye exam. How many times has a child gotten bored, annoyed, or threw a flat-out tantrum because they didn't appreciate a retina exam? A simple visual acuity test may seem easy enough to get through, but you can make the whole experience more entertaining with some kid-friendly additions to your toolkit.
Just because they're called "monocular occluding glasses" doesn't mean they can't be fun! Introduce these flower or tiger-themed glasses to your young patients and challenge them to say it five times fast. Then challenge them with a child-friendly visual acuity chart. If the whole experience is all fun and games, treating kids will be a day at the beach.
Something to smile about after surgery
Children are resilient, even after something as serious as eye surgery. But it's all about how you approach the situation. If you tell them it's going to hurt, it'll hurt. But if you sweeten the deal with a cool dinosaur eyepatch, you can make a nervous kid feel better about receiving treatment.
Think back to your adolescent days. Kids who are a little older might feel embarrassed about wearing an eye patch in front of their friends. Letting them choose their favorite color might allow them to go to school or attend extra curricular activities with confidence.
Great patients deserve great rewards
The best exams happen when a child's vision is excellent and they can leave your office with a clean bill of ocular health. So when they've been an exceptional patient, make sure you give them a reward. Eye care themed stickers make kids happy and reinforce positive behaviors. The work you do as a pediatric optometrist is important. A child's perception of medical professionals can stay with them for the rest of their lives. Ensuring they have a good experience is doing more than making your job easier. It's setting them up for a healthy lifestyle throughout adulthood.
Looking for ways to take your practice from sleepy to sensational?
Consider an office theme that grabs kids attention. SmileMakers has canvas prints and wall decals that can kick your office decor into high gear. Always keep it fun. It's a language that all kids speak.