When parents learn that their child may require glasses or contacts to help with their vision and eye health, it can be difficult to navigate your options.
The fact is, the costs associated with eyewear can quickly become prohibitive. But, beyond finding an affordable option, there are a host of additional factors that parents should consider when choosing eyewear for their kids.
Read about four common eyewear concerns for kids, and keep these elements in mind to support your child in the decision process.
4 common concerns for kids who need eyewear
If you’re anything like us, you find most young children wildly entertaining – the operative word there being “wild.” And even kids in high school and college can be incredibly active, on-the-go, and (dare we say?) reckless.At OES, we highly encourage parents to invest in durable glasses and frames that can keep pace with the hectic lifestyle of their kids. Resilience is an especially important factor to consider alongside price. A cheaper pair of glasses may cost less up-front, but if the frames or lenses are more susceptible to breaking, they may ultimately harm your budget (not to mention pose a health hazard for your kiddo).
Plastic frames have historically been a durable option less susceptible to breaking and bending. However, current manufacturers are also making resilient metal frames. Parents should talk to their optician about which materials are best for your child, and be sure to ask about hypoallergenic options such as non-nickel if he or she has shown sensitivity to certain metals.
Beyond correcting any vision problems, proper eyewear should only serve to enhance your child’s safety – that means parents need to keep an eye out for any aspects of glasses or contacts that may pose additional hazards.If you have a young child, materials play a crucial role in the safety of glasses. Children’s lenses should be comprised of polycarbonate or Trivex which resist impact better than other lens materials, making them less prone to scratch or shatter – and a safer option for your children’s eye health. Additionally, these types of materials protect against damaging UV rays.
For children in high school and college – screen time can have a significant impact on eye health. Digital screens emit “blue light,” which is a portion of the visible light spectrum that reaches deep into the eye. For students and adults alike who spend large quantities of time in front of screens, cumulative blue light exposure may result in damage to the retina and, at certain wavelengths, may contribute to the development of age-related macular degeneration.
Fortunately, advances in eyewear technology are keeping pace with the changing digital environment. Students in high school and college may opt for lenses designed to filter out or block harmful blue light. These lenses may also help to mitigate some of the more immediate symptoms of over-exposure to blue light, including blurred vision and headaches after time in front of a screen.
Another problem we see with kids and glasses is simple lack of “compliance” – put another way, kids often forget (or simply don’t) wear their glasses as prescribed.
As a parent, you’re likely aware of the significant risk your child faces when they fail to utilize their prescribed eyewear – trouble with reaction times and cognition in the short term, and potentially permanent vision consequences in the long term. But your children may not recognize or be able to fully appreciate these consequences.
One of the best ways to facilitate your child’s proper use of eyewear is to ensure they have an extra pair of glasses on hand. A back up pair of lenses in the car or at school can be a convenient way to ensure your child is taking the necessary precautions with their eye health to minimize risk.
An extra pair of glasses can be especially helpful for college students who may over-wear contact lenses due to long hours studying – or worse, will sleep in their contacts after an exhausting day. While contact over-wear may not result in any immediate problems besides irritation or dryness, this continued behavior can result in a serious infection. Having an extra pair of glasses on-hand can discourage contact over-wear and help ensure health for your students’ eyes – even during late hours.
Similar to convenience, comfort plays a huge role in your child’s compliance with their prescribed eye wear. And comfort takes many forms. Physical comfort will ensure that kids aren’t bearing the brunt of unnecessary pain or discomfort like headaches or hot spots. Comfort with style can help kids find a sense of fashion in their eyewear. Finally, social comfort and a feeling of acceptance among peers can weigh into a child’s decision to wear their glasses in public.
Social comfort can be more nuanced and complex to address, and often requires significant conversation between parents and their kids to help develop a sense of security in their own skin. But the first two – physical comfort and style – can and should be addressed during your visit to the optician.
One common issue that we see at Oregon Eye Specialists is misdiagnosis of a problem – which can result in an inaccurate or uncomfortable prescription. For example, we often see college-aged students who experience blurred vision as a symptom of Dry Eye syndrome, which can occur when the eye remains opened during prolonged periods of reading. In these cases, corrective lenses are not a curative treatment, and a misdiagnosis can be both expensive and ineffective for your child.
Help your child choose eyewear with confidence
Staying conscientious in the eyewear decision process can help your child to stay happy and healthy – and can also address your goal to stay budget-friendly. Whether your son or daughter is in grade school or college, be sure to keep durability, protection, convenience, and comfort in mind the next time your family visits the eye clinic.
At Oregon Eye Specialists, we pride ourselves in providing families with the best optical and vision services possible. That’s why we’re offering a back-to-school special: 50% off lens upgrades, 40% off a second pair of frames, and 30% off a complete second pair in the months of August and September. We’ll help your child to feel safe, smart and stylish – and you won’t need to spend excessively on eyewear in the meantime.
The team at Oregon Eye Specialists is ready to help your family find the right pair of glasses. Visit one of our 8 conveniently located sight shops to get started.