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How can I help my 2-year-old stay calm during an eye exam?

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My 2-year-old son has what is called a corneal dermoid. He goes to an eye specialist every six months for an eye exam and has his eyes dilated, etc. His doctor recommends having the dermoid removed before he gets old enough to be in school. The dermoid does bother his eye, and he rubs it from time to time. We had decided to go ahead and have it removed now while he is still young. The problem is my son will not sit still -- he screams and kicks during the exam and the vision test. What can I do to help him get over this reaction? The vision test did not turn out because he would not leave the electrodes in place.


Most 2-year-olds are pretty upset by examinations and procedures, particularly those involving areas around the face. Your child also has memories of struggles with these procedures in the past. Although his behavior will get better with time as he matures, a mild sedative might help him get through it for now. Checking his vision is important, so it might be worth it to try this. Discuss this with his primary care physician, who could in turn work with the ophthalmologist to help things go more smoothly. Placing the electrodes on before going into the exam room, your staying with him and holding him, and the use of puppets are all techniques that can help. Offices that see young children regularly usually have a whole bag of tricks to get these things done. Be sure that the specialist is experienced with young children. Your child doesn't sound at all unusual for the age.  

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