My Child Needs Glasses: Now What?
Your child has just been diagnosed with a refractive error and the optometrist has prescribed corrective lenses for him or her. Now What? Buying a pair of glass for a child can be a daunting task for parents.
In that moment as a parent, you are both relieved and worried! Relieved that you now have answers for why your child has been struggling with simple daily home, recreational and school tasks. Worried that you now must pick out frame and lenses for a child. The thought of picking out frame and lenses immediately causes some parents to break out into a cold sweat. They anguish over whether their child will break or lose their glasses within the first month of receiving them and they fret over the “stigma” associated with children who wear glasses.
If your child had an eye exam and was prescribed glasses, here are a few tips to ease the pain:
Remember to Breathe! Many parents new to eye wear and care are very nervous and anxious about the eye exam and diagnosis. As an eye care expert, I always first try to reassure my parents that getting prescription glasses is a POSITIVE. Now, their child will be fully equipped to perform to the best of his or her abilities at home, school and in recreational settings. I encourage my parents to ask questions and to remain positive. This will aid in their children quickly adapting to their new eye wear.
Remember Quality. Avoid purchasing the least expensive eye wear as the primary pair. The prescription prescribed by the doctor will only be effective with great optics and a comfortable frame. When picking a frame for a child, remember Fit-Durability-Style.
- Fit– When finding the right fit for your child, consult a professional, specifically an eyewear retail specialist or optician versed in pediatric eye wear. With the help of a professional, make sure the temple (arm) of the frame is the right length and the bridge of the frame ( the part that rests on the nose) sits taut on the child’s nose at the bridge. Lastly, make sure the child’s eyes are directly centered in the frame to ensure the child is viewing through the optical center. This will ensure the frame at dispense will not require excessive adjustments that do not improve comfort and will cause unnecessary pressure on the nose and back of the ear.
- Durability– Children, in general, are rough on their frames. When picking a frame for a child, I recommend a frame with flexibility and a spring hinge. Most children take off their glasses with one hand, causing stress on the hinges and screws. A frame with flexibility and a little “give” in the hinges will reduce breakage. Also, frames with a thicker material like plastic will reduce breakage during recess or normal “horse play.”
- Style– Glasses are IN! Several manufacturers have frame lines dedicated to children. Parents- let your child get involved with choosing a frame that fits their personality or style. Glasses are thought of as an accessory or extension of one’s style. When your child is actively involved in selecting a stylish frame, they are more likely to feel confident when wearing the glasses at school. Once the fit and durability of the frame are accounted for, let them have fun and find a frame the speaks to their inner ROCK STAR!!!
Protect your child’s eyes. Exposure to the sun over time is very harmful. It is never too early to consider adequate sun protection and injury prevention when wearing glasses at an early age. All children 18 and under wearing glasses should have impact resistant lenses, to reduce shattering of the lens causing eye injuries. Children under the age of 21 are more at risk for long term sun damage, such as cataracts, pinguecula, and macular degeneration. To protect your child’s vision while wearing full-time glasses, I recommend adaptive lens (get darker outside) and No-Glare with UV lenses (reduce excessive glare and UV rays). Lastly, a lot of parents forget that clear vision is important to be successful and competitive on youth sports teams. Having sports googles ensures both clarity and protection. Everyday glasses do not have the necessary recommended lens thickness standards for protection and injury prevention.
Teamwork– The world of Eye care and prescription glasses for a child can be very overwhelming! It requires a good team and support system. Many children are excited, nervous and afraid to wear glasses. Unfortunately, many children are still bullied for wearing glasses. Parents, eye doctors, and pediatricians need to work as a collective team to encourage and outline the benefit and necessity of glasses for all new pediatric eye care patients.
Picking a new pair of glasses for a child can be a fun experience for the entire family. Just Breathe! Reference my simple tips to guide you through the process.
Founder/Owner of Brilliant Eyes Vision Center
Co-Founder of S.C.O.R.E., INC