You took all the right vitamins and ate carrots by the bushels while pregnant, but there you are sitting with your beautiful, perfect young child in the optometry office selecting frames for his first pair of eyeglasses. During the eye exam you couldn’t help but remember all the faces congratulating you when he was born -- every one of them wearing glasses!
OK, so the genetic die has been cast. It’s now your job to make sure your little one has the right glasses, knows the right way to care for them, and most importantly, that he’s comfortable and confident wearing them.
Feelings of Guilt
It’s not unusual for parents to feel guilty when they learn their young children need glasses. Some blame themselves and their own poor-vision for dooming their darlings to a lifetime of spectacles. Some wonder if they did something wrong that caused their children’s vision problems. (Not enough cold water fish during pregnancy? )While feelings of guilt may be natural, they aren’t helpful. Ann Z, a contributor at littlefoureyes.com, explains that when kids have trouble seeing, it's usually due to genetics that have been passed along from many generations before meaning it’s beyond your control and it isn't your fault. Obviously, you know many happy, healthy, productive people who wear glasses. You may even be one of those people yourself. Focus on getting past this guilt or you may pass on feelings of awkwardness about glasses to your child.
The Doctor Visit
If your child isn’t already under the care of a good eye doctor, take the opportunity now to choose one. Ask for a referral from your child’s physician, but don’t be afraid to choose a different eye care professional if the first one doesn’t seem right for your child or for you. Ann Z suggests bringing another adult along for the first few appointments; it may require one adult’s full attention to keep your child cooperative, and in the meantime you’ll want to be able to listen to everything the doctor has to say.
Glasses for Little Eyes
Choosing the right pair of glasses can be difficult for anyone, so it’s especially challenging when a young child is involved. As with any pair of glasses, try to choose frames that complement your child’s face in terms of coloring and size. You’ll want to avoid frames that are too large, but this can be tricky because many available frames simply won't be small enough. (Do not go with the “he’ll grow into them” theory. Sure, he’ll grow into them, but by the time he does, those glasses will be deep on the bottom of Lake Minetucca. ) Choose sturdy frames that fit him comfortably today and can stand up to abuse, because young children are likely to dish it out.
Today, most frame makers have embraced the need for an appealing array of kid’s frames and now offer a wealth of fun, brightly colored, fashionable glasses some even with logos from their favorite cartoon characters and TV shows. Matching eyeglasses cases and even bands to keep the glasses around your little ones neck can also make them more fun and easier to wear.
Keeping the Glasses On
The first part of getting your child to wear his new glasses is making him feel good about them. Talk with him and prepare him for this change, but make it fun. Point out all the other nice, cool, fun people he knows that wear glasses. Include some of your child’s favorite characters from games, TV and cartoons that wear glasses. (Harry Potter, for example.) Stuffed Animals that wear glasses and any books your eye doctor recommends would probably also be a good addition to the mix.
Purchasing new glasses may have been difficult, but teaching a small child to keep them on can be even harder. As with any new skill you’d like your child to learn, talk positively about the glasses and how much they help. If needed, offer a reward for keeping the glasses on for a certain amount of time. Teach your child how to carefully put them on as well as how to correctly take them off and put them in a safe place. You can also keep the glasses in place with a strap if needed.
Life After Glasses
And it does, in fact, exist. Getting glasses will be an adjustment for your child and for your family. If he’s made to feel comfortable about his glasses, he’ll soon forget he’s even wearing them. And that’s when he’ll really begin to see what’s possible.
Guest author Andrew Rios is a father of two young boys and a freelance blogger writing for Accessrx a site where you can order medications online. Learn more by following them on their Accessrx Twitter.