Autism is a disorder characterized by challenges in communication, socialization, learning, behavior, and the appropriate use of play or leisure time.
As a spectrum disorder, there are a wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning for those with Autism. As such, routine doctor visits can become much more challenging.
Determining Visual Acuity for Those with Autism
Some individuals with autism can communicate quite well, but I’m often asked how I can determine visual acuity for someone who cannot respond to a question frequently asked during eye exams: “Better at 1 or 2?”
- An Ophthalmologist or Eye MD might start by noting whether a patient can fixate on an entertaining object.
- An autorefractor machine might also be utilized as a starting point.
- Another exam, known as a cycloplegic refraction, is helpful because it avoids any chance for the patient to accommodate and doesn’t require the person to communicate what or how well they can see.
4 Ways to Make Eye Exams Easier for Loved Ones with Autism
There are some ways you can make an eye examination easier for your loved one with Autism.
- To minimize waiting time, you can fill out all of the paperwork in advance utilizing our online portal and request the first appointment of the day or the first appointment after lunch.
- If a school or behavioral therapy program is available to you, it may be helpful to ask if the teachers can practice by doing a mock examination or if they can come with you to the appointment.
- If there are snacks, toys, or tokens that are reinforcing, bring those along and use them as you would in a therapeutic setting.
- Lastly, be sure to wait until the Ophthalmologist is ready to begin the examination to have the child or adult with Autism sit in the exam chair, and give them short breaks if necessary.
If you have a loved one with Autism and you’re in the Central New Jersey area, we’d love to become your trusted vision specialist. Contact us for an appointment.