Designing for Distress in Pediatric Optometry Exams using a Mixed Methods Case Study and Human-Centered Design

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Children can be difficult to examine because they may become noncompliant if their physical and emotional needs are not met. Yet, there is a lack of studies that describe and measure anxiety throughout the entire length of an eye exam, provide qualitative themes about the exam, and investigate if physical and emotional factors and factors related to the exam are correlated with distress. This thesis starts with a descriptive mixed methods case study using a survey, observations, and field notes and subsequently uses the study’s findings to collaborate with doctors and designers to determine key design heuristic principles used in the development of a design for an interventional product that aims to reduce distress during exams. Thus, this thesis serves as an example of how to maximize empathy and include diverse perspectives by merging both traditional scientific research and applied design research methods when designing for healthcare.

pediatric optometry, children, cycloplegic refraction, cyclopentolate, anxiety, eye drop administration, mixed methods case study, human-centered design, industrial design