Choosing the right glasses for your child is important, but can also be a bit intimidating--though it doesn’t have to be.
On the surface, choosing glasses for your children sounds simple. By the time you start this process, you’ll already have their prescription, after all. However, there are other factors to consider. For example, how active is your child? What are the odds that the glasses will end up getting banged up from being dropped or impacts in sports? How much time daily will they spend wearing them? Will they be comfortable, and nice looking enough for the child to enjoy wearing them and not take them off all the time
Fortunately, there is no shortage of frame options, including those specifically designed to survive while worn by an active child. There are also numerous different brands and styles, so it should be possible to find frames that your child will be excited to wear on a daily basis.
From both a practical point of view (we don’t want glasses just falling off all the time) and a comfort one, it’s important to find your child glasses with a proper fit.
Beyond this, glasses with a proper fit will ensure that the lenses are in the right spot to provide the assistance they are there for. To make sure we achieve this, it’s important to give the child an opportunity to try on several frames to get a feel for them. The size and weight of the frame should be considered; glasses with a proper fit should not move when the wearer is lying down or taking part in physical activity. The three important factors to take into account are lens width, bridge width, and the temple (arm) length.
If the eyes are centered with the lenses both horizontally and vertically, and if the arms travel in a straight and parallel path from the hinges to the ears, then you know that you have a good fit. The best way to tell if the fit is right is to look at your child from directly across from them.
There are three basic frame materials: wire, plastic, and flexible. When dealing with babies or active young children, flexible is probably the best option, as they are the most durable. For older children who are heavily involved in sports, it may be a good idea to get them an additional pair of glasses like sports goggles, which are both durable and very secure.
Wire frames with nose pads allow for increased adjustability, so in certain cases, such as with children who need an exact bifocal line, this is recommended.
Another aspect of glasses design that should be taken into account are the hinges. Since glasses are regularly taken on and off and the arms folded, they are weak points where glasses can break. To mitigate this risk, look for glasses with spring hinges. They allow the temples (arms) of the glasses to bend outward, so are less likely to suffer damage if a child decides to play with them, engages in rougher play, or falls asleep with them on.
Children’s lenses are generally made out of polycarbonate or Trivex. Both of these are much more impact resistant than other materials, and so safer for children. They are also lighter, which can make it more comfortable to wear, especially for children requiring strong lenses (which have to be thicker.)
Even though glasses are more common than ever in children, some might still feel self-conscious about starting to wear them. Fortunately, there are plenty of modern, attractive-looking designs for them to choose from. Additionally, if you choose to go with photochromic lenses (which darken automatically in sunlight) might encourage them to want to wear the glasses more and not have excuses to take them off as often.
While there is plenty to think about when selecting glasses for your child, it's important to not let it become overwhelming. Make it an event, something exciting your child gets to participate in. Cultivating that positive attitude regarding the topic of glasses will carry over and assuage many of the concerns the child might have, and lead to both a better attitude regarding wearing glasses as well as improving the odds that they will be wearing them properly.
While there are many important things to consider when choosing glasses for your child, the process doesn’t have to be a stressful one for you or your child.