Children have become quite used to viewing screens for long hours, be it for educational purposes or to watch their favourite shows on the internet. The new lifestyles with digital prominence are associated with increase in cases as well as intensity of myopia (minus power or shortsightedness) in children. The new lifestyles with digital prominence are associated with increase in cases as well as intensity of myopia (minus power or shortsightedness) in children. Also, there are some kids who suffer from congenital eye disorders, which necessitates them to wear eyeglasses from early childhood so that they can see well when they are older.
Especially post the lockdown, it is increasingly believed by eye care practitioners (ECPs) that increased screen time for kids, more indoor lifestyles may have increased the requirement for eyeglasses among children. Therefore as a parent, it is important to ensure that your children’s eyes are periodically screened for vision defects, appropriately corrected with required spectacles and protected from unwanted, excessive light emitted from the screen.
While this may sound logical, it is often a very emotional moment for a parent, especially mothers when they are told that their child requires spectacles. Many parents start thinking if they did not care enough or where they went wrong. However, children getting glasses is fairly commonplace today. One should take it as part of modern lifestyle and move forward in addressing the practical aspect of incorporating spectacles in the child’s life. Here are some of the most helpful ways to choose the best pair of eyeglasses for them.
Choosing glasses that fit your child
So your child has had trouble seeing things clearly, and the ECP informed you that your child requires glasses. Now, you might be confused about how to choose glasses for a child. It might seem quite confusing and difficult, but with the tips mentioned below, you will be able to choose children’s eyeglasses for your kid quite easily:
- Children today are well exposed to the latest trends globally thanks to the internet. Hence, they are aware of and are quite sure of style and design they want. This may not always be the same as what you may have in mind. But, in order to encourage the child to wear the glasses, it is essential that their views are respected.
- Depending on the prescription strength, it is necessary to ensure that they are made of high-quality material that can last long.
- Check your child’s face shape before choosing children’s eyeglasses to ensure it fits their face.
- Considering your child’s lifestyle will help you choose the best frames
- Finally, when choosing eyeglasses for kids, remember that they need to feel confident about their eyeglasses.
The above pointers should help ease the mindset for optical shopping for your child. Now that you are aware of the most important tips to keep in mind when choosing children’s eyeglasses, it’s time to understand some other aspects of selecting children’s glasses.
Elements that help choose the best eyeglass frames for kids
- Frame size
Look for a frame size that will be a good fit for your child’s face and can accommodate the lens prescribed for them. Larger frames will cause the lenses to be thicker at the edge for minus powers. This often becomes a matter of contention with the opticians since, as a client, you are not able to envisage the thickness of the spectacles after the lenses are fitted. Hence, do not select oversized frames for children with minus powers.
- Material of the frames
With the wide variety of materials available for children’s eyeglasses, it is important to get a consultation regarding the best eyeglasses for kids you can purchase. The most important things you need to consider are durability, weight, and cost of the frames your child chooses. Ideally, for beginners, plastic frames of acetate are most suited. These are easiest to adapt to. Also, plastic frames are available in a variety of colours from conventional studious colours to discreet transparent shades and bright fun colours.
There are also plastic frames made by injection moulding. These are lighter, often thinner than acetate frames and come in a wider variety of colours. These are fine for low powers. For anyone with higher powers, acetate frames are preferred.
Metal frames are making a comeback and often children and parents both have the idea of having frames that are as conspicuous as possible. Metal frames are great in looks, however, if the child has high minus numbers, then the edge thickness of the lens may show prominently.
- Proper bridge fit
When choosing the best frames for kids, it is necessary to ensure that the frames have a proper bridge fit. For example, a child’s nose is not fully developed, making it easy for frames to slide down their face. Due to the same reason, several children’s eyeglasses are made with adjustable nose pads that can ideally fit your child’s nose. In general, for anyone, child or adult, the fitting of the spectacles on the nose bridge is key to comfort. This should be discussed with the optical salesperson.
- Temple Length and Style
Children are the most active humans who play and run a lot, which creates the question of how to ensure that your child’s eyeglasses do not fall off. For this, it is essential that the temple length of the spectacles is adjusted appropriately for them. This is one of the most ignored parts of spectacle fitting. Most opticians miss this point and try to fix the bridge when the child complains of spectacles slipping off the nose. Sometimes, parents don’t accept that customisations are essential for a comfortable fit and temples need to be bent more or lesser than the standard length.
In the past, cable temples or curl-around temples were designed to hook behind the ears to secure the glasses in place. But these were not very comfortable. Hence, these are now out-dated. Today, Silicone hooks and sports bands are available that ensure that the eyeglasses do not fall off. These may be used only when the child is playing sports or is involved in activities like dancing or exercise.
Conventional wisdom says that spring hinges are better for children since children tend to be less careful while handling their spectacles. They often end up broadening the spectacles at the hinges. Thus, the spectacles tend to become loose often. Spectacles with spring hinges are less prone to becoming loose at the hinges.
The points mentioned above are quite useful in the process of choosing best spectacle frame for your child. Now its important to go over the basic and advanced features of the lenses that will actually enable good and healthy vision.
The main considerations for lenses are:
- They should provide excellent optics for clear vision
- They should be light-weight
- They should not break easily
- In the unlikely event of breakage, the lenses should not shatter. This feature prevents injury that may be caused due to tiny shards of lens material if it breaks under impact. This used to be a potential risk with glass lenses in the past.
Plastic lenses of CR39 material are the standard lens material today. These have all the above basic requirements.
Other Lens features a parent would want to consider are:
- Lens Thickness: CR39 material is available in various refractive indices. The higher the refractive index of the lens material, the thinner the lens will be. This can be very useful for children who have high numbers and want to wear thinner-rimmed frames or wider frames.
- Scratch resistance: Spectacle lenses can get scratched if not cared for properly. This cannot be expected out of most kids. Hence, having superior scratch resistance is a featured parent would appreciate so the lenses last a reasonable time duration. Scratched lenses not only need to be replaced, they also disturb vision and can cause glare. Despite the best scratch-resistance treatment, please bear in mind and do not get carried away by unscrupulous claims of scratch-proof lenses.
- Impact resistance: Though plastic lenses are shatter resistant, they still break under impact. Though there is nothing truly unbreakable, two lens materials are relatively stronger than CR39. These are polycarbonate and trivex. Though Trivex is more impact-resistant, it is generally thicker than polycarbonate. Also, it is more expensive. Polycarbonate is generally the most recommended material for children with active lifestyles.
- Anti-reflection for greater transparency: Anti-reflective lenses allow more light to pass through the lenses, minimize reflections from the lens surface and make the lenses look more transparent. They also minimize the ghost images of light sources seen in cylindrical (astigmatic) powers and the unsightly power rings formed in the periphery of high minus power lenses.
- Photochromatic: If the child has an outdoorsy lifestyle and is into sports or has hobbies like cycling, etc, then photo-chromatic lenses that become dark on exposure to the sun’s UV light may be a helpful feature.
- Blue Light Protection: Low frequency, high energy blue light from LED lights and screens has been associated by some manufacturers with digital eye strain and disturbance in sleep patterns. If your child has a lot of screen time then blue light protection lenses could be useful.
- Anti-Static or Dust resistance: This feature is useful for easy cleaning of lenses.
- Smudge resistance or Oleophobic: This feature is helpful as it prevents finger marks on the lens surface, so there is less need to clean spectacles.
- Water repellent: This feature prevents the build-up of water and sweat on the lens surface.
Once you have understood and ensured that you have selected the appropriate frames and lenses, let’s understand the best frames for active, sports-oriented kids.
Sports glasses are a highly beneficial investment if your child plays sports. These sports glasses have padding around them, it protects your kids during an impact and has adjustable straps that fit.
Children and babies are quite active as they always explore, learn, and understand the world around them. Therefore it is quite necessary to have a backup pair for their eyeglasses. In addition, having a backup pair will allow you to get the original pair of eyeglasses repaired while they get a new pair of glasses.
So now that you have understood the most important tips that will help you as a parent choose the best eyeglasses for kids and understand how to choose glasses for a child. Now, you should be able to purchase the best-suited children’s eyeglasses along with your child’s participation, so go on and buy the best ones your child deserves