What to Expect
COVID-19: What to Expect for Your Child’s Safety at In-Person Appointments
We’ve made a lot of changes to our facilities to protect our patients, families and staff from covid-19. Every patient is allowed to have a maximum of one parent or caregiver accompany them. Everyone else, including siblings of any age, may not come along. When you come for your appointment, you will see that we’re requiring everyone to wear masks at all times, cleaning check-in and registration desks between visits, screening for symptoms at all entrances and have set up our spaces to encourage social distancing. Watch what to expect at your clinic visit during COVID-19 (video). Learn more about the rest of the safety measures we have in place.
Oculomotor Lab Visit
Learn what to expect and how to prepare for a visit to the Oculomotor Lab (PDF). If your child is taking medicine that causes drowsiness, tell our clinic staff when you make the appointment.
Ask your child’s provider to fax past eye exam, imaging or testing records to us at 206-987-2722. This helps us avoid duplicate tests. You also can bring these records to your visit.
- History of your child’s symptoms
- Appointment reminder notice
- Insurance card(s), medical coupons and any required copay
- List of the medicines your child takes. Include the name, dose and instructions. (Example: amoxicillin, 250 mg, 3 times a day.) Or, you can bring the medicine with you.
- Diaper bag and comfort items for your child, such as toys, snacks and a change of clothes
- Legal papers, if needed, about custody or making healthcare decisions for your child
Please allow at least 3 hours. A parent or legal guardian must come with your child to the clinic visit.
We will do an eye exam. This helps us find out if there is a vision problem and create a plan for treatment.
- One of our ophthalmic assistants may put drops in your child’s eyes. We do this so the doctor can look at the backs of the eyes. The drops can sting a bit, but this is very brief. See the “What to expect when eyes are dilated” question for more information.
- Your child will wait 30 to 40 minutes after they get the drops. This allows time for your child’s pupils to dilate. There is a waiting area for this part of your visit.
- Based on your child’s eye problem, the exam may include additional testing, which your child’s doctor will discuss with you.
Ophthalmic assistant: Assists the doctor with the diagnosis of your child’s eye problem and administrative tasks
Neurophysiologist: Does ophthalmic research and specialized testing
Ophthalmologist: A medical doctor who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of vision problems and eye diseases
Optometrist: Examines eyes for both vision and health problems, and corrects refractive errors by prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses
Orthoptist: Helps to diagnose and manage eye muscle misalignments and amblyopia. They focus on strabismus, amblyopia and double vision. Patients may be seen by the ophthalmologist and orthoptist in clinic. At other times, patients may be seen by just the orthoptist for patching treatment, prism treatment or for strabismus.
Resident: Licensed doctor who is in training in a pediatric specialty. Since we are a teaching hospital, your child may see a resident.
Have your child or teen remove makeup before their appointment.
What is dilation?
Dilation is when the pupil of the eye (the dark center) widens. It happens when we give your child special eye drops so we can do a full eye exam. Dilation also helps us find the right glasses prescription for your child.
What is the process of dilation?
- After an ophthalmologist and/or ophthalmic technician (tech) sees your child, they will determine if your child needs their eyes dilated.
- We will put two drops in each eye, one minute apart.
- The eye drops take at least 30 minutes to work.
- After 30 minutes, we will check your child’s eyes with a light to see if their pupils are dilated. Sometimes darker-colored eyes need additional drops and another 30-minute wait. (We do a maximum of three sets of drops for children with dark-colored eyes.)
When will my child’s eyes be dilated?
If your child is a new patient or if they need a prescription for glasses. We prefer to dilate most patients yearly and sometimes at each visit. This depends on your child’s diagnosis.
What does dilation feel like and how long will it last?
Their near vision gets fuzzy and they may have an increased sensitivity to light (photophobia). For children this may last from 6 hours up to 36 hours. As the eye drops wear off, the effects will decrease.
We will send a copy of the test results to the doctor who referred your child to us. Please ask us if you would like a copy of the notes from the visit.
- Allow plenty of time for travel, parking and registration.
- If you need to cancel or reschedule, call 206-987-2177, option 1. Please cancel at least 24 hours before your appointment.
Find your location in our map and directions section. Arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to allow time for registration.
For more information on visiting Seattle Children's clinics, please see Your Child's Clinic Visit.