Glasses Can Be Fabulous
So your child is getting glasses -- no sweat! According to the American Optometric Association there are approximately 58.8 million children in the United States who wear corrective lenses and many more begin wearing eyeglasses each day. Their eyesight is immediately improved, and with the help of an eye care expert and a few wise parents, adjusting to wearing glasses can be a smooth, even enjoyable, process.
"As long as there is strong parental support and the child understands the benefits of wearing the eyeglasses, there is no problem," says Thomas Fausset, an optometrist practicing in Santa Barbara, Calif. "Today's children don't seem to mind glasses"
It is easy for kids to start wearing glasses because so many children already wear them and because there are many attractive options in frames, he says. "Frame styles have come a long way and are much more cool."
He offers a few suggestions to make the process easier for the whole family:
- Allow your child to select the frame. Cost should not be the focus. If the child doesn't like the frames, he won't wear them.
- Remind them of the benefits their glasses provide. This list can include the ability to read, see movies better, play sports, etc.
- Instruct them in eyeglass care. Help them set up a routine for storing glasses and keeping them clean.
Fausset realizes parents with much younger children face different challenges. "The biggest problem is getting these young children to stop pulling their glasses off. It is a hassle at first, but just keep putting them back on their face," he says. "They eventually get used to the feel of the glasses and stop pulling them off."
Tracie Cloward of Nevada faced minor challenges when her son, Mac, got glasses at age 6. "He was always bumping them and we had to have them adjusted or put in new screws," she says.
Through trial and error she also realized the shape of the frames could cause harm and she strongly recommends parents look at glasses carefully when choosing them. "He fell when he was wearing his first pair of glasses. They were poorly designed and cut into his eyebrows," Cloward says. "Check out the warranty of the glasses before you buy them. You never know when or how they'll break."
Dawn Hughes of Kentucky got eyeglasses for her daughter, Taylor, when she was 8 years old. "She knew they'd help her see better and couldn't wait to get them," she says. "I could hardly get her to take them off to go to sleep." Her daughter never worried about what other kids thought even when a few called her "four eyes."
"A lot of kids at her school wear eyeglasses. She thought her new glasses were really cool," Hughes says.
Christy Christiansen of Utah found it just as easy when her son, Forrest, began wearing glasses at age 7. "On the drive home from the optometrist's office he shouted to us 'There are mountains out there!' We felt horrible we hadn't gotten him glasses sooner," she says. Her biggest challenge was keeping his friends from trying them on.
Christiansen keeps her son's eyeglass routine simple. "I wash them for him each morning when I comb his hair and he puts them on his nightstand when he goes to bed."
When children become used to their glasses, they can take over the responsibility of keeping them clean. Fausset suggests children get in the habit of cleaning their glasses when they wash their hands. "Lenses should be washed with soap and water daily. This is better than glass cleaners because kids won't carry that around," he says. "They can dry them with a cotton towel or even a T-shirt."
Nickie Harris of Portland, Ore. was surprised how easy it was for her daughter, Charlotte, to adjust to wearing glasses. "I used my serious voice the first day and laid down the rules for her. Even though she was just 5, she understood immediately how important it was to take good care of her new glasses," she says. "She puts her glasses in their protective case when she is not wearing them and I help her wash them each day."
Charlotte was relieved by her improved vision and rarely took them off. Even when the novelty faded away she was still proud to wear them to school.
These moms discovered that getting your kids to wear glasses doesn't have to be a hassle. And you can have success, too. Just keep your attitude positive and supportive. Follow your child's lead in choosing frames, but make sure they are sturdy and harmless. Help create a simple routine for caring for his or her new eyewear and your child's improved vision will be a benefit no small obstacles can destroy.