Before launching into a discussion about helping your child choose glasses, it is important to draw attention to the critical step that precedes the prescription filling – the eye test.
Unlike adults, children may not be aware of the fact that their vision is imperfect, or may not be able to articulate it properly. This inability to see clearly could manifest itself as behavioural problems at school, or in other ways that may not seem obviously connected to eyesight. As a result, it is important that children go for regular eye tests, even if their vision has been perfect in the past and they have no current complaints.
That being said, if your child does need glasses, there are a number of important factors to keep in mind when helping him or her select a pair of frames.
Children will often be reluctant to wear frames at first, as they may be unsure how their peers will react and do not want to draw attention to themselves. As a result, it is important that children are able to choose frames that they are enthusiastic about, so they will be more inclined to wear them. This may involve children choosing frames from a range based on a favourite television character, such as Hannah Montana, or emulating a look they have seen on an adult, peer or other celebrity.
Beyond your child’s preferences, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable optician who can help your child select frames that fit properly and comfortably. Children will be disinclined to wear ill-fitting frames, and it can be difficult for any consumer – child or adult – to properly determine how well frames fit. An expert will be better equipped to assess whether or not frames are suitable and will remain comfortable for extended periods of time.
In terms of the frames themselves, children are more active and prone to breaking glasses than adults, so it is a good idea to choose frames that will stand-up to a bit of rough-handling. While many children’s frames are designed with this in mind, it is still an important factor to look out for, particularly if your child is heavily involved in sports. It may be worthwhile in the long run to spend a little more on better quality and more durable glasses, which should be less likely to break. Along this line, be sure to investigate warranty options. Many frames come with a standard warranty/guarantee, but it also might be beneficial to purchase longer-term coverage.
Certain lenses are more durable and scratch-resistant that others as well, so be sure to discuss lens options with your optician once you’ve selected a frame. Polycarbonate lenses, for instance, are typically more shatter resistant, making them a safer choice for children as well as adults.
The other factor to keep in mind with regards to lenses is the size and thickness of the lenses that your child needs given his or her prescription. This will not only influence the range of frames that he or she can choose from, but may also prompt you to look into special, lighter-weight and thinner lenses, to reduce the size of lenses if your child has a particularly high prescription.
New glasses should be an exciting purchase for children, as they have an opportunity to choose frames they like, and will immediately notice the benefits of clear vision. By helping your child choose appropriate frames, you can work together to find a pair that your child is likely to wear and unlikely to break.