If you are a parent looking for a suitable pair of glasses for your child, chances are you will be confused when entering an optical store.
There is no shortage in children’s frames. The problem is figuring out which glasses your child will be willing to wear and whether they will last longer than it takes to get home.
Find here 10 shopping tips to help you choose the glasses that your child will love, plus they will be stylish and durable.
1. How thick should the lenses be?
The prescription for glasses is the first thing to consider when choosing your glasses. Before you start shopping for frames, ask your ophthalmologist or eye care professional about the best lenses for your child.
If the prescription calls for strong lenses, which will likely be thick, avoid large frames that increase their thickness. Also, small lenses tend to have fewer high-order aberrations near the edge of the lenses than larger lenses made from the same material and prescription, so there is a lower risk of blurred or distorted peripheral vision.
2. Choose frames with a modern and attractive style
Most children who wear glasses for the first time are shy about it. Therefore, choose frames that are modern and attractive in style. Also, some features like photochromic lenses that automatically darken in sunlight outdoors can help make your child want to wear glasses.
3. Plastic or metal?
Children’s frames are made of plastic or metal, and many have styles that intentionally mimic unisex eyeglass frames designed for adults. Children are often drawn to these styles because it makes them look more grown-up. It is not unusual for them to choose frames that look like the ones their older siblings or parents wear.
In the past, plastic frames were a better option for children as they were considered more durable, less likely to bend or break, lighter, and less expensive. But now, manufacturers are making metal frames that incorporate these features. Metal composition varies, so ask your optician about the best option for your child, based on experience with different alloys.
If your child has shown sensitivity to certain substances, choose frames made of hypoallergenic materials.
4. Proper bridge fit
One of the hardest things about choosing frames suitable for young children is that their nose is not fully developed, so there is no bridge to prevent the plastic frames from sliding down. However, metal frames are usually made with adjustable nose pads, so they fit everyone’s bridge.
Most manufacturers recognize this drawback with plastic frames and make their glasses bridges fit small noses.
Each frame must be individually evaluated to make sure it fits the bridge. If there is a gap between the bridge of the frames and the bridge of the nose, the weight of the lenses will cause the glasses to slide, no matter how well the frames fit before the lenses are made.
It is important that the glasses stay in place; otherwise, children tend to look over them rather than repositioning them properly. An optometrist is usually the one who can decide whether a frame will fit properly.
5. The Right Sideburns Style
Temples that wrap around the back of the ear help prevent the glasses from slipping or completely falling off the child’s face.
These wraparound temples, called “cable temples,” are generally available in metal frames and are especially useful for keeping young children’s glasses in place. Another option is frames that include an elastic strap to hang the glasses around the head.
6. Spring hinges
A nice feature for your glasses temples are the spring hinges. These allow the temples to flex out or into the frames without causing any damage.
Children aren’t always careful when putting glasses on and taking off, and spring hinges can help prevent the need for frequent adjustments and costly repairs. They are also useful if the child falls asleep with the glasses on or uses them while playing.
Spring hinges are highly recommended for young children who sometimes get carried away when playing with their new glasses.
7. Materials for lenses
Once you and your child agree on the type of frames to choose, the next step to consider is glasses.
The lenses of children’s glasses must be made of polycarbonate or Trivex. These materials are much more resistant to impact than other lens materials and will give you greater safety.
8. Sports glasses
Polycarbonate is such a safe lens material that it may allow your child to play sports with their regular glasses.
Here’s the downside: Although polycarbonate is the lens material used in sports glasses, regular eyeglass frames don’t provide enough protection against large objects like balls or the bumps caused by other players’ elbows.
So if your child plays sports, a suitable pair of sports glasses with polycarbonate lenses will provide the best protection against eye injuries .
To provide optimal protection, sports glasses must be fitted correctly, so consult an eye care specialist before purchasing. The lens openings of sports glasses must be large enough so that if the glasses are pushed towards the face, the points of impact are above and below the eyes and eye injury can be avoided.
Many optical retailers offer a warranty plan that will replace the glasses at no charge or for a small fee in the event of damage to the frames or lenses. Consider opting for the warranty, especially if your child is a young child or is wearing glasses for the first time.
Check lens replacement costs with and without the warranty plan. Typically, if the warranty costs you less or about the same as the fee to replace a single lens, the price is well worth it.
Make sure the glasses warranty includes a replacement provision if the lenses get heavily scratched from normal use. In addition to causing glare and blurred vision , scratches on the lens surface can compromise their impact resistance, putting your child’s eyes at risk.
10. Buy a pair of “backup” glasses
Because children may not be as careful with their glasses, it is a good idea to buy them a second pair of backup glasses, especially if your child has a high prescription and cannot be without their glasses.
Ask your optical store specialist if special discounts apply for second pairs; they often do so if the backup pair is purchased at the same time as the initial pair.
In some cases, sports glasses can be used as a replacement pair of glasses. Or, if your child’s prescription hasn’t changed significantly, keep his old glasses in a safe place to use as a replacement.