The Children’s Optical professionals are trained to help parents select the eyeglasses for their child based on a number of factors that include prescription, range of activities, face shape and style preference among other considerations. Still, we feel it’s important for the parent to become familiar with some of these selection factors which include:
- Frames and Lens Thickness
The primary consideration in choosing glasses should always be the eyeglass prescription. If, for instance, the prescription requires thicker lenses, it’s best to choose small frames to reduce the final lens thickness. Smaller frames also tend to minimize aberrations near the edge of the lens that often occur in large lenses of the same material and prescription. These aberrations increase the risk of blurred or distorted peripheral vision. Unless you are an eye care professional, be certain to discuss lens considerations with the optician.
- Fashion and Features
Remember that a key objective is to get your child to wear the glasses. Taking into consideration how different frame styles may impact a child’s appearance is important…especially for the child. Here again, the optician can assist by pointing out the most popular frames for a child’s age group. And, depending on the child’s age and prescription, incorporating “cool” features like lenses with tints that darken outdoors may also increase the child’s willingness to wear the glasses.
- Plastic vs Metal
Children’s frames are made of either plastic or metal (also called “wire”). In the past, plastic frames were a better choice for children because they were considered more durable, less likely to be bent or broken, lighter in weight and less expensive. Today, manufacturers are making metal frames that incorporate these same features. Metal composition varies, so ask the optician which one is best for your child, based on experience with different alloys.
- Proper Bridge Fit
One of the most difficult issues when choosing suitable frames for young children is the fact that their noses are not fully developed. Therefore, they don’t have a bridge to prevent plastic frames from sliding down. Metal frames, on the other hand, are typically made with adjustable nose pads for the best fit. This helps to insure that the glasses stay in place for comfort, safety and proper vision.
- The Right Temple Style
Temples that wrap all the way around the back of the ear help keep glasses from sliding down or dropping off a child’s face completely. These wraparound temples, called “cable temples,” generally are available on metal frames and are especially helpful to keep glasses in place on toddlers. Another option is a strap that goes around the head.
Eyeglasses with cable temples and/or straps are not a good choice for part-time wearers, however, because they are a bit more awkward to put on and take off. For glasses that go on and off frequently, it is better to have regular, or “skull,” temples that go straight back and then curve gently around the back of the ear.
- Spring Hinges
Temples with spring hinges allow the temples to flex outward, away from the frames, without causing any damage. Kids are not always careful when they put on and take off glasses, and spring hinges can help prevent the need for frequent adjustments and costly repairs. Spring hinges are strongly recommended for toddlers, who sometimes get carried away playing with their new glasses.
- Lens Material
Children’s lenses should be made of polycarbonate or Trivex. These materials are significantly more impact-resistant than other lens materials for added safety. Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses also are significantly lighter than regular plastic lenses, which makes the eyewear more comfortable – especially for strong prescriptions. And, polycarbonate and Trivex have built-in protection against potentially damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays.
- Sports Eyewear
If your child is involved in sports, a properly fitted sports goggle with polycarbonate lenses will provide the best protection against eye injury. A sports goggle should have a larger vertical eye opening, rather than a smaller one. If an impact should occur and the goggles are pushed toward the face, the larger eye opening keeps the impact points far above and below the eyes.
Not all warranty plans are the same. Check lens replacement costs with and without a warranty plan. Generally, if the warranty costs you less or about the same amount as the fee to replace one single lens, it’s worth the price. Also, check to see that the lens warranty includes a replacement provision if the lenses become badly scratched from normal wear.
- Backup Pair
Because children can be tough on their eyewear, it’s always a good idea to purchase a second, or backup, pair of eyeglasses for them. This especially is true if your child has a strong prescription and cannot function without his or her glasses.