The Right Fit
Frames for children are also specifically designed and are not just smaller pairs of adult eyeglasses. Children should be specially fitted for glasses.
Some lens materials, such as polycarbonate, protect children who are at a higher risk for lens shattering. (Children who are twelve and under are usually fitted with polycarbonate lenses.)
While no glasses are unbreakable, be sure to look for ones that have impact-resistant lenses, so that a fall or other accident might not necessarily destroy the glasses. Impact resistance helps ensure safety during sports and at play. Parents might also want to have a spare pair on hand in case of an emergency.
According to the American Optometric Association, other features to consider when purchasing a child’s glasses include: light-weight lenses, thin profile, spring hinges, UV protection, and scratch resistance.
Lightweight glasses increase comfort and reduce a child's resistance to wearing them. A thinner lens profile can also be more comfortable for children wearing eyeglasses. Spring hinges prevent the need for frequent adjustments and hold the glasses in place. Scratch-resistance helps protects against scratches and abrasions for longer wear and a lower bridge with silicone nose pads will fit a child's smaller nose better and keep glasses from sliding down. Glasses with UV protection have a special surface that filters out harmful UV rays.
Finally, don’t forget fashion! Many styles and colors are available for children as well. If they are fun and fashionable the child will be more likely to want to wear them.
If your child is active in sports or does not like wearing eyeglasses you may be considering contact lenses.
According to Dr. Joseph Kubacki, chair of Ophthalmology at Temple University Hospital, parents should consider the two “m’s” to determine if a child is ready for the step to contact lenses.
“The age at which a child can be successful is when they are motivated to use contacts and are mature enough to handle the responsibility,” says Dr. Kubacki.
“Hygiene is also a crucial issue for contact lens wearers because of the direct contact to the eye. If a child has good hygiene, he or she is a good candidate for contacts,” he explains.
He adds that most children can wear contacts by the age of ten or eleven. After a child is properly fitted, he or she will then be taught how to insert, remove and care for their contacts.
Many different types of contacts are available, including disposable daily-wear lenses, two-week disposable, and regular lenses that can be used for approximately one year. Most children can be fit with soft lenses, which are very comfortable and easy to use.