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10 Tips for Choosing Children’s Glasses

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Family at optometrist office helping daughter choose a pair of glasses

Choosing a pair of glasses can be especially challenging nowadays due to the massive variety of options available to fit your specific needs. This is especially true for someone’s first pair of glasses. Not only is the prescription and fit of the glasses important, but the style and design of the glasses can play a significant role when choosing the right frames and lenses.

If your child requires a pair of glasses to address problems with their eyesight, it is imperative that they enjoy wearing them so they can reap the benefits and results of prescription eyewear. The first step on the journey to correcting vision problems is an eye examination

1. Start With an Eye Examination

Before you start looking at the different kinds of glasses available for your child, they will have to receive an eye examination to discern their prescription. Your child’s eye exam will start with questions about their family and medical history. During the exam, your optometrist will test your child for any signs of eye diseases. As well, your optometrist will test your child’s vision skills, including their eye teaming, tracking, and focusing. Your optometrist will then test for any refractive errors and will pay close attention to their visual acuity and binocular vision. Lastly, your optometrist will assess your child’s general eye health.

2. Frame Size 

Frames are available in a wide variety of sizes, and there will be options that can comfortably fit your child’s head. When choosing the frame size for your child, pay attention to how high your child’s prescription is. If they have a high prescription, avoid larger frames. In combination, larger frames with thick lenses may look unappealing and also cause peripheral distortions due to the increased aberrations near the edges of the lens.

3. Metal or Plastic Frames? 

The choice between plastic or metal frames comes down to preference. Plastic frames used to be the recommended choice for children, as they were more durable, less expensive, and weighed less than metal frames. Although, now, manufacturers have been able to make metal frames with significantly increased durability. Considering this, choose the material that your child likes the look of and feels the most comfortable wearing.

Happy young girl holding on to glasses as she tries them on at optometrist office.

4. Choose a Good Style 

For your child’s first pair of glasses, it is very important that they feel good about how they look. If you purchase a pair of glasses that your child does not fully like the look of, they will be less likely to wear them.

5. Bridge Fit 

Choosing the right bridge fit will help your child’s glasses not slip down off their nose. Find a pair of plastic glasses with a smaller bridge fit. Alternatively, there are pads made for the bridge of the nose that can be fit onto metal or plastic frames to ensure a proper bridge fit. 

6. Temple Style 

If you have a toddler, you may want to consider glasses with extra support that properly fits the frames to the temple of their head. Temple supports like temple cables that wrap around your child’s ear or elastic bands that wrap around the back of your child’s head will help keep their glasses in their proper position. 

7. Lens Material 

Considering what material you want your child’s lenses to be made of is important. If there is no need to purchase anything out of the ordinary for your child’s prescription, they can do well with regular plastic lenses. Lenses made from polycarbonate or trivex can be more comfortable, lightweight, and durable than plastic lenses. They are also UV resistant and will protect your child’s eyes from harmful UV rays. Photochromic lenses are another option for your child’s lenses if they struggle with bright lighting conditions. 

8. Spring Hinges

Spring hinges allow the frames of a pair of glasses to stretch outward from a person’s head without causing any damage to the frames. Children can benefit from spring hinges as they add to the durability of the frames and will help prevent the need to constantly repair your child’s glasses. Kids live very active lives, and if they wear glasses, the frames can take a beating if not careful. Spring hinges help mitigate this problem.

9. Prescription Sunglasses 

If your child needs prescription glasses, you may want to consider purchasing a pair of prescription sunglasses as well. Protection from UV rays when outside is extremely important, especially for children. The effects that UV rays have on your child’s eyes are cumulative, so they must protect their eyes as early and often as possible.

Another option is to purchase sunglass clips for your child’s prescription eyeglasses. If they already like the style of their eyeglasses, a pair of sunglass clips can help protect their eyes from UV rays while keeping the design of the glasses that they like intact.

10. Consider a Backup Pair of Glasses

As mentioned before, children lead very active lives and are prone to damaging and wearing out the glasses they use. A backup pair of eyeglasses can come in handy when your child’s current pair is damaged, lost, or they have grown tired of wearing a certain style. 

Written by Dr. Martin Falke

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