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Follow This Advice If Eye Exams Make You Nervous

Does it make you nervous when someone touches or comes near your eyes? This is not uncommon. Many people do not like or want their eyes touched! Some people are able to shrug off this natural nervousness for an eye exam, knowing that in this case, having the doctor touch their eyes is safe and for a good reason. But other people struggle with this. If you're one of these people — and you get really nervous before eye exams — here is some advice to help you calm your nerves and approach eye exams in a more palatable way.

Tell the eye doctor you are nervous. 

Your inclination may be to keep the fact that you're nervous a secret since you are embarrassed or ashamed. However, it is actually better for you to share the fact that you're nervous with your eye doctor. You won't be the first one that tells them this! If they know you are nervous, they will move more slowly during the exam, tell you what they're going to do before they do it, and reassure you along the way. They may stop periodically and ask you how you're doing, giving you breaks as needed.

Learn what the tests actually do.

Before your eye exam, spend a little time researching the various eye tests that doctors conduct. The key ones to focus on are:

  • Visual acuity test
  • Muscle movement test
  • Cover test
  • Pupil reaction test
  • Slit lamp test
  • Retinal exam

If you understand what happens during these tests and why each one is important, then you won't be as surprised by what your eye doctor is doing. You may also have a greater conviction of the importance of the tests, which will help you set your nervousness aside.

Think about your breathing.

The good thing about eye tests is that most of them only take a few seconds, and most of them don't really require that you do anything other than sit there and let your eye doctor do their thing. So, if you can focus on something else for about 30 seconds at a time, that will get you through most eye tests. A good thing to focus on is your breathing. Think about inhaling for 5 seconds, and then exhaling for 5 seconds. Do this again and again. Not only does this keep your mind focused, but it also helps keep your heart rate down, so you don't feel so nervous.

Many people are nervous about having someone else touch and look at their eyes. With the strategies above, though, you can get past this nervousness so you can have your eyes examined properly.