10 tips for choosing children’s eye wear
According to the Children’s Vision Network, 80% of what a child learns is processed through their eyes. If your child’s eye doctor has recommended eye glasses to correct a vision deficiency, one of the most important things you can do is a) choose a pair that your child will actually wear and b)choose a pair that will stand up to the active lifestyle of a child.
Here are 10 tips to help make sure that you and your child have an enjoyable and successful trip to the optical shop.
1. Let your child have some input.
Remember that if your child hates their eye glasses it will be a constant battle to get them to wear them. If you want to avoid the constant reminders and threats to get your child to wear their glasses, which is really your main objective, then let them have some input in the style and color of their frames. As long as they fit properly and your child will wear them, who cares if they are purple, neon orange or polka dotted. Extra enticement may be found in cool lens features, like photochromic lenses that darken outdoors.
2. Lens thickness.
A primary consideration in choosing eye glasses is the lens prescription, since this affects the weight and thickness of the final lenses. If your child needs a stronger prescription that requires a thick lens you will want to keep the frames as small as possible. This will reduce the final thickness and weight of the lenses. Consult with the optician for direction is this matter.
3. Lens material.
Children’s lenses should be made of polycarbonate or Trivex materials since these are the safest, most impact resistant lenses available. They are also lighter weight and more comfortable than regular plastic lenses, a good feature to consider if your child has a stronger prescription.
4. Frame material.
Children’s frames are made with either plastic or metal. Plastic frames usually have more color options and fun patterns to choose from. Just make sure they fit properly before your child falls in love with them. Metal compositions vary, with memory metal such as Flexon, being the most durable. These frames can withstand extreme bending and twisting without breaking. Keep in mind nothing is indestructible, though, so your child should still be instructed in the proper care and handling of their new glasses.
5. Temple style.
Your child’s age and prescribed glasses wearing schedule will influence the type of ear piece that is best for your child. Cable temples will wrap all the way around the back of the ear with a large, silicone-covered C shape at the end. These are especially good for babies and toddlers to keep the glasses from sliding down or falling off the face entirely.
Another option is a strap that goes completely around the back of the head. If your child is a bit older or only needs to wear their glasses part time, the more traditional skull temples that go straight back and curve gently behind the ear will work the best.
6. Proper fit.
One of the most difficult parts of choosing eye glasses for your child is making sure you get a proper fit. A young child’s nose is not fully developed and they have a very small bridge, which makes some plastic frames unsuitable. If there is a gap between the bridge of the frame and the bridge of the nose, the glasses will slide down on your child’s face, especially with the added weight of the lenses. Metal frames are usually made with adjustable nose pads, so they fit everyone’s bridge.
Each frame should be evaluated individually for proper bridge fit and overall width. Your optician will be the best judge of the fit of a frame.
A common place for glasses to break is at the hinge which connects the temples to the face of the frame. Spring hinges are an excellent choice for children, since they tend to a bit rougher on their glasses than adults are. Spring hinges allow the temples to bend outward without damaging the frame. This gives them greater durability when a child takes their glasses off and on, or if they fall asleep while wearing their glasses.
8. Sports eye wear.
While you may be tempted to let your child play sports in his/her regular glasses, the frames are not designed to give enough protection from large objects such as balls or elbows. Sports goggles will provide the best protection against eye injury. Consult with an eye care professional about proper fit before making a purchase, since sports goggles need to fit so that any impact points are above and below the eye sockets.
Don’t underestimate the value of a warranty plan with the purchase of glasses for your child. It is very common to need to replace damaged or broken frames or lenses given the active nature of most children. Some retailers offer a warranty plan for a small fee, which may well be a worthwhile investment. Check the cost of frame or lens replacement both with and without the warranty plan to determine if the investment is a good one. At our clinic all our children’s eye wear comes with a two year warranty at no additional charge.
10. Backup pair.
If your child has a strong prescription or will have trouble functioning in school without his/her glasses then purchasing a backup pair of glasses is a good idea. Oftentimes replacing a pair of glasses can take several days, especially if the frame needs to be ordered from the manufacturer. If it would be a hardship for your child to go without his glasses for that length of time then a backup pair is essential. Most optical shops will offer a discount on a second pair of glasses when they are purchased at the same time as the original pair, making it a good investment.
If your child is in need of eyeglasses we have opticians trained in fitting all ages with the proper eye wear. We offer a two year warranty on all children’s eyeglasses and minor repairs and adjustments at no charge. Contact Us or Stop in to check out our selection of children’s eyewear.
How to Choose Childrens Eye Wear