If you are a parent and your child has been prescribed corrective lenses, the next step is to find a pair of glasses for your child to wear. Walking into a store with hundreds of lenses to choose from in the children’s section alone can be difficult, especially when you need to find a pair that your child is willing to wear and that can endure their active lifestyle. Here are a few pointers to help you and your child find a frame that will last.
First of all, you need to determine whether your child needs glasses, which can be done by an optometrist through regular eye exams. Doctors recommend that children should have their first eye exam at 6 months, then again at 3 years old, and once more before they start school. If eye health is good, then children should be reexamined every 2 years until age 18, but children with risk factors and children who wear corrective lenses should be examined once a year.
Before you let your child loose in the shop and they stumble onto a pair they love, you need to know which frames will work with their prescription. If they need thick lenses then you need to choose small frames to combat the thickness of the lens. If they have a strong prescription they might need larger lenses that are easier to see through. Consult with the optician and let them narrow down your choices before your child falls in love with a pair that won’t work for them.
When choosing glasses, you also need to consider what kind of lenses you want for your child. Children’s lenses can be made of polycarbonate, a material that is stronger and more durable than normal adult lenses. These materials are more impact resistant and are also lighter so that they are more comfortable for children. They are usually also scratch resistant, and have ultraviolet (UV) protection built in.
Affording frames and lenses for your child can be difficult, especially when they are constantly growing and needing to update or overhaul their current glasses. Let them know they can only have frames under a certain number and stick to your budget. Letting them fall in love with a pair that you can’t afford will make the process much harder on both of you.
Just like adult frames, plastic used to be considered more flexible, durable, and lighter, but today new metal materials can have all of these features as well. Some metals are made more durable than others, so consult with your optician to determine which materials would be best for your child, especially if they are clumsy or particularly active. You also need to consider any sensitivities or allergies your child might have to certain materials, and choose frames that will not irritate their skin.
Since children are so young, and are still growing, their noses are not fully developed and do not have the kind of bridge that adults do to hold up glasses. Most manufacturers are aware of this fact and design their children’s glasses to fit smaller noses, but you still need to make sure that frames fit your child perfectly before choosing them. If the bridge doesn’t sit properly on the nose, the frames will likely slide down the nose and your child will be unwilling to wear them.
With children’s glasses you can also order a certain kind of arm called ‘cable temples’ that wrap around the ear to keep the glasses in place. These are great for toddlers or children who are active so that their glasses always stay on their face. However, these kind of arms are not recommended for children who only need to wear their glasses part time, as they are more difficult to take off and on. In this case, ‘skull temples’ which are just the normal, slightly angled kind of arm, are better for part time use.
Choosing glasses that your child will like and actually wear is difficult, and is a task that you and your child should complete together. Have a discussion first with your child about why they need glasses and convince them that it is a good idea. Don’t actually go to the store to choose frames until your child is ready and excited to start wearing glasses. Once you get there, stay calm, remember all the variables that go into choosing the right pair, and make sure you leave with a pair that you are both happy with.