With childhood myopia rates rising, glasses (and contact lenses) have become more common for school-age kids. Myopia, also known as nearsightedness is linked in part to prolonged time spent in front of computer screens and handheld devices; and that problem is now exacerbated by the transition to online learning in many of the nation’s school districts.
Like every sudden change in life, the switch to wearing glasses comes with a period of adjustment, and children may find it harder than others to get used to, and take care of, their new frames.
“Wearing glasses is not a negative,” explains Dr. Vivienne Velasco of Las Vegas-based iFocus Vision Center. “Parents can make the transition easier by teaching their children the proper way to take care of their glasses.
“By doing so, they’re empowering kids and teaching them the importance of healthy vision and personal responsibility.”
Choosing the Right Frames
It’s important that children have a say in the selection process, as they will want to find a pair of glasses that suits their personal style. These days, fortunately, there is plenty of style to choose from, with fashion-forward brands partnering with top designers and even celebrities.
Allowing your child to pick out his/her own frames will go a long way when it comes to the very important step of caring for their glasses.
Taking Care of Your Glasses
Creating a checklist is a great way to help children understand the importance of keeping their glasses in tip-top shape. Dr. Velasco’s tips include:
- When they’re not on your face, put them in your case. The best way to avoid losing your glasses is knowing exactly where they are at all times. Keeping them in the case, rather than in your pocket, ensures that they won’t slip out accidentally, or be sat on.
- Use both hands to remove glasses. This will prevent undue stress to the temple of the glasses, protecting the hinges and adding to their lifespan.
- Clean carefully. Always use an approved eyewear-cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth to clean your glasses. Never use a towel, clothing, tissue, or paper towel, as these all can lead to scratches on the lenses.
- Keep a backup, just in case. Velasco recommends having an extra pair on hand at all times, because you never know when you’ll need them.
Signs Your Glasses Need An Adjustment
Children don’t always speak up when they notice something is off about their glasses, but you’ll know when it’s time for an adjustment by keeping a close eye on how your child is wearing them.
For example, if the frame is always falling down your child’s face, or if he/she is complaining about discomfort on the nose or ears, you should have them adjusted.
“Glasses should be comfortable on the face and you shouldn’t feel like you constantly need to adjust them during the day,” Dr. Velasco says.
Glasses vs. Contacts?
Whether a child wears eyeglasses or contacts depends on personal preference, a child’s activities, eye health, and readiness. Any child can wear glasses as long as he/she are responsible enough to take care of them, Dr. Velasco says.
When it comes to the debate over glasses versus contacts, a parent of a child in youth sports may opt toward the latter, because it’s more comfortable when wearing helmets or other equipment.
“The choice between a child wearing glasses or contact lenses is decision that is made collectively between the parent, child, and optometrist,” Dr. Velasco says. “The optometrist’s job is to make sure that a child’s eyes are healthy enough to wear contact lenses.
“The parent helps the optometrist to decide whether they are mature enough to handle contact lenses.”
All three parties should be in agreement, she adds, because if a child does not want to wear contacts it is less likely he/she will want to follow the guidelines for applying and removing the lenses. In these cases, glasses are likely the best fit.
iFocus Vision Center remains open with strict guidelines in place to protect patients and staff members. Patients with an urgent need are seen by appointment only, and iFocus offers curbside pickup for eyeglasses or contact lens refills. To schedule an appointment, contact us at 702-473-5660.