There are many possible indicators that your child needs glasses. This could begin with a note from the teacher discussing difficulties in school or you may notice your child squinting or having frequent headaches. However, it is even more likely that you learn your child needs glasses when you take them to the optometrist for a routine check when there have been no indicators at all. Once your child has had their eye exam and the optometrist advises that they need glasses, the next step is choosing their first pair. This is the fun part and should be shared with your child as exciting and new. Start by ensuring that your child likes the style and colour of the frames that are being selected. A child will be more inclined to put their glasses on everyday when they are happy with their appearance. However, in order for a child to keep their new glasses on, the frames do need to provide a comfortable fit. For this reason the frame sizing and selection needs careful attention by an experienced fitter. Children are often small at the bridge of their nose and since much of the weight of the frame is carried at that point, certain types of frames, often with adjustable nose pads, will be required. Children’s skin can be sensitive and large areas of frame contact should be avoided particularly if they have metal sensitivities. Also, your child will need a frame of good quality and one that is backed by a manufacturer’s warranty.
The first priority of lens selection is safety. Lens materials such as polycarbonate and Trivex carry significant impact resistant qualities in addition to providing UV protection. Your child’s prescription may necessitate lens features such as aspheric surfaces or high index materials to keep them thin and light. All lenses should be provided with a very good quality scratch resistant coating and in some cases anti-reflection coatings although the latter will require frequent cleaning to ensure the maximum benefit. The delivery of the new glasses is an exciting time for your child. Make sure that they are fitted well. The frame should be level and properly positioned. They should not slip out of position with head movements and there should not be noticeable red marks on the nose or behind the ears after a few hours of wear. Your child will be excited to receive them so use this time to impress upon them the doctor’s wearing instructions. Also, build good care habits such as showing them how to use both hands to remove them and not setting them lens-side down. Many coatings have specific cleaning instructions or products which you should receive from the fitter. Allow your child to personalize their eyeglass case.
The new glasses will likely take some time to get used to. There will be an adaptation period. Initially, your child may resist wearing the glasses as he or she may feel that their vision is not clear or they may feel that things look a little ‘funny’. With continued wear of the glasses, as directed by your optometrist, these symptoms should resolve. However, any problems that persist beyond one or two weeks should be reported to your optometrist. To encourage your child to wear his or glasses, make it a part of their daily routine. Also, remember to make your child’s teacher aware of the wearing schedule of the glasses.
Having a positive and supportive attitude towards your child’s first glasses will encourage your child to wear his or her glasses proudly. To help ensure healthy vision the Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends children to have their eyes examined at six months of age, at three years of age and then every twelve months or as recommended by your optometrist.
To find an optometrist near you, use our Find and Optometrist Search or call 855-424-3735 .
Article provided by Dr.Radhika Chawla, OAO Optometrist
For more information on children’s vision and eye exams for children, visit the website of our Eye See… Eye Learn Program by clicking here.