Eye Health For KidsEyeglassesFort Myers
Eye health discussion from Dr. Azizi and West Florida Eye Care
Six Tips When Buying Eyeglasses for Your Child
When you’re buying eyeglasses for your child, there’s a lot of things to balance. Budget, style, the fact that your kid will probably step on them eventually–all important details. So here’s the nitty-gritty on what you should be thinking about when you’re purchasing glasses for Mini-me:
We’ve written a more extensive guide to choosing eyeglass frames, and most of the advice applies for children as well. However, there’s a few extra things to keep in mind for your kids. Generally, kids treat their glasses like all of their other possessions (think: toys). They get tossed, sat on, jammed in car seats, and dropped. They need to be able to survive as long as possible, hopefully until they’re lost, which is also inevitable. Welcome to parenthood.
Durability comes in a few forms. Frame material has a lot of great options these days. Plastics are plenty durable, as are metal (or “wire”) frames. In particular, you might be interested in “memory metal,” a type of material that “remembers” its shape and springs back in the likely event of spectacle-torture. Flexon is a well-known brand that has a memory, made of a tough titanium alloy.
The last option you might entertain is spring hinges. They allow the temples (the “arms”) to bend outward, away from the head. That comes in handy for most kids, as they put on or take off their glasses with unpolished, rough movements that will often bend non-spring hinges, resulting in a trip for repair and an unexpected bill. Probably worth springing for. (pun intended!)
The lesson to be gleaned here is simple: don’t get glass lenses. It’s almost not worth mentioning, though–glass lenses are uncommonly used for children’s glasses. Instead opt for polycarbonate (plastic). It’s more durable and shatterproof–so you can’t shoot your eye out, of course. In addition, it’s probably worth looking into anti-scratch coatings–treatments for the lenses that make them much more impervious to scratches when the various mistreatments mentioned above occur. Some other perks in this category are transitions lenses, which change tint depending on the brightness, and anti-reflective coatings which allow more light into the eye, often making things clearer for the wearer.
The temples, as mentioned, are the “arms” on the glasses. For children, especially small children, it can be important to get specialized temples that fit around the ear to help hold them in place. Many children have problems with their glasses sliding down their nose frequently–the bridge of young children’s noses is not fully developed. Another alternative is a strap that goes around the back of the head. Both will help active children’s glasses from sliding down their faces, at which point they tend to just look over the top of the frames.
When it comes down to it, your optometrist will probably ask a few questions about your child and then help you make a great decision. They can help you balance things like durability, weight, fit, and price in a way that is hard for a non-expert to do. Ask for their help, and trust their advice.
“I’m so surprised my son lost his glasses!,” said no parent ever. Think about warranties. Most glasses come with optional warranties, and you know your child best. Unless they’re trained in proper etiquette, though, these warranties are probably a fairly safe bet. And if your kid loses things–and I say “if” just to be polite, in reality chuckling to myself–it’s worth inquiring about the price of a backup pair. In many cases, you can receive a discount if you buy the backups at the same time as the primary pair.
Once your child has their glasses, they need to take good care of them. Glasses will come with a case and cleaning cloth–use them! Lenses can be scratched with a shirt or especially a paper towel. Encourage your child to use the cleaning cloth. As far as treating them properly, common sense trumps: have designated places that glasses belong when removed, and discourage spectacle-torture.
If you’re in the Ft. Myers, West Florida Eye Care would love to fit your child into some good-looking glasses. See our contact page for locations and to set an appointment.