My 4 year old son recently had a pretty big change to his daily routine, the addition of glasses. My initial reaction was shock. I was so surprised to find out my son had weak eyesight, specifically in one eye. I was ashamed that I did not recognize this, I mean, I am his mom. How could I not notice he had issues with his eyesight? If we were getting glasses for kids, we better make it memorable.
I was also heartbroken after realizing his beautiful face would be hidden by glasses. During the first few days after receiving the news I would find myself holding back tears. I felt so impacted and scared for what the future held for my baby. However, once all of these feelings settled, I felt gratitude. I am so grateful our pediatrician performed this routine exam that saved my son’s eyesight.
Of course, adjusting to wearing glasses is no easy feat. Here are some steps we took to helping our son:
Find an Optician that specializes in children’s glasses
After our doctor suggested we begin our search at a couple of large department stores for inexpensive eyewear, I was pretty discouraged scouring their slim inventory and limited customer support. She then recommended Apex Optical, a group of opticians with three locations in the DC metro area. The Tenleytown location had the most options and wonderful customer service. Going to an optician who specialized in the process was helpful, especially when it came to fit. Most importantly, he made sure my son’s eyes were perfectly centered in the lens. Remember, if the glasses are uncomfortable, it would make it all the more challenging to convince your little one to keep them on.
Let your child help with picking out frames
Options. Options. Options. This was not only helpful for me but for my son. We may have been in that store for an hour, but he was able to try on any color, frame, and style he wanted. He was ADAMANT the glasses must be black, and I needed them to be flexible silicone frames (preschooler proof). By having my son’s input, I felt that he would be able to express himself and potentially look forward to wearing glasses. Even though the exact pair he wanted were not in the store, the technician was able to fit him and order them in no time.
Be their biggest cheerleader
Compliments go a long way, even with a four year old. As he tried on each pair, I told my son how great he looked in them. Pumping him up and letting him know that I liked the look was the positive reinforcement he needed to feel comfortable enough to wear them regularly.
Remind them of the benefits
Yes, YOU recognize the benefits of wearing glasses, but your child may not be as agreeable right away. I would point out things he may not have seen clearly without the glasses, and how they have now improved his ability to see. I think this will become more obvious as he begins reading and focusing on small day to day details. Wearing these glasses will positively change his whole world.
Be patient with them and yourself
Remember, all new things take time, especially with little ones. Once my son put on his glasses for the first time, he repeatedly said “they are messing up this eye” (as he pointed to the lens with the prescription). At first, I was concerned, but then quickly realized that perhaps it is “fixing” that eye, which is something he is not used to. We decided at that point that wearing them 12+ hours a day was not necessary, especially at the beginning.
It is OK to take breaks from wearing glasses, and to deal with the emotions that come with the change. Some days he is excited to wear them, and other days he wants to stomp on them. Feeling emotions is always okay in our home. As parents, we are there to guide those emotions and support our children when they need us most.
If your pediatrician’s office does not already perform regular eye exams, I would highly recommend scheduling them for your child around 3 years old. Additionally, screen for Myopia. Getting glasses for kids can seem overwhelming, but it’s so important!
Feeling overwhelmed by the frames? Here are some glasses for kids to choose from:
Tomato Glasses (small nose bridge)
Don’t Forget: Straps and Stay Puts, Swim Goggles, Sunglasses, and Cleaning Wipes!
If you are getting glasses for kids and need additional support, check out the Facebook Group – For Little Eyes.