Wearing glasses for the first time can be a challenging adjustment for children, and it’s important to try to make the whole experience a positive one. Not only will glasses make a difference in terms of your child’s ability to see and interact with the surrounding world, they also ensure that his or her eyes will develop fully. Here are some ideas from the BC Association of Optometry to help ease your child’s transition into wearing glasses.
- Allow your child to choose their own frames. Your child will want to wear something that is “cool”; you’ll want to make sure that it won’t be outdated next year. Whether it’s a popular or classic style, keep in mind the ultimate goal is to get your child to wear the glasses.
- Plastic or metal are both OK. In the past, plastic was the preferred material for children’s eyewear because it was considered more durable, lightweight and less expensive. Now, manufacturers have created metal frames with the same features. If your child has sensitivities to certain metals, ask for hypoallergenic materials.
- Go for adjustable nose pads. Children’s noses are not fully developed yet so they don’t have a bridge to prevent plastic frames from sliding down their noses. Metal frames will fit every bridge because they have adjustable nose pads, so the glasses are more likely to stay put.
- Spring hinges are a great feature to have because they allow the temples to flex outward without causing any damage to the glasses and they accommodate different head sizes.
- Choose polycarbonate lenses. Lenses should be made of polycarbonate because it is the most impact-resistant material.
Helping your child adjust
- Be positive and give positive reinforcement. Children often pick up on a parent’s disappointment that the child needs glasses. The worst thing possible is for a parent to break into tears or say “That’s too bad!” when the optometrist tells them the child needs help. When this happens, the child feels like they have let the parents down. Remember to praise your child often for wearing their glasses, and point to positive role models from real life or fiction. After all, Clark Kent, Superman’s alter ego, wore glasses.
- When to wear. Make sure you know when your child should wear glasses. Your child may need to wear their glasses only for near vision tasks. If a parent is confused and asks them to wear glasses designed for reading when they are doing distance activities, their vision may be blurred and they may become resistant to wearing their glasses when they really need them. Speak to your optometrist about your child’s vision and when they should wear their glasses.
- Check the fit of the glasses. Your child may not wear their glasses because it slips down their nose or the frames are too tight. Make sure the glasses are not pinching on the temples, the nose or ears. Periodically check these areas for any red marks or skin irritation.
- Prove how glasses help. Choose activities where glasses will make a big difference in your child’s ability to see clearly. For example, if your child needs glasses for reading, read a book together so they can see the difference in their vision when their glasses are on and off.
- Give them responsibility for their glasses. If your child is old enough, instruct them on eyeglass care and storing glasses. Choose a hard case to help protect the glasses when they’re not wearing them. If your child is too young to be responsible for eyeglass care, develop a routine so you can regularly clean and put away their glasses.
Creating the best possible overall experience for your child’s first pair of eyeglasses can shape his or her view of them for years to come. Implementing these simple tips can make a big difference!