There are six stand-out safety concerns you need to consider when manufacturing to ensure your glasses are a success.
#1 FRAME MATERIAL
What your frames are made of is crucial when creating safe kids' optical glasses
. Most kid's eyewear is made from plastics, like acetate, as it’s more durable, less expensive, and more flexible in terms of color choices.
If your frames are plastic, you’ll want to find a material that is free from BPA (Bisphenol-A), an industrial chemical used to make certain plastics. BPA has been linked to adverse health effects, such as obesity, and pushing most parents to shop BPA-free. Regulation around BPA is quite loose in the United States, with the FDA only limiting its use in certain products. Internationally, most countries also follow similar regulations by limiting BPA products for food containers and selected children's products.
Besides BPA-free materials, your frames should also be free from any other poisonous substances (i.e. lead) that can bring harm to children. If you’re opting to manufacture metal eye frames for kids, you’ll need to consider different metal compositions and their subsequent reactions. For example, some children are sensitive to certain substances such as nickel.
Other than that, all frame materials should be safe to chew on as most kids will put objects in their mouths during their development.
#2 LENS MATERIAL
Arguably, the most important material to consider is the material used for manufacturing lenses for kids' eyewear. The lens acts as the first line of defense between the eyes and the sun's UV rays, which again, is especially important for kids as they are more susceptible to UV harm. Children’s ocular lenses cannot filter UV light and prevent it from reaching their retinas as effectively as adult lenses. When considering safety in lenses, you should consider materials that filter out both UVA and UVB light.
Parents are also increasingly becoming concerned about the effects of blue light from electronic screens on their kid’s eyes, citing dangers such as retinal stress on their young eyes due to overexposure. Consider having blue light blocking lenses to ensure that their eyes are protected.
Polycarbonate lenses are the most popular choice in kids' eyewear as the material is not only thinner but also lighter than plastic. The lenses are impact-resistant, shatterproof (ensuring no pieces will end up into kids' eyes in the event that they break or crack), and provide 100% UV protection.
Not only should your lens material be safe, but you also need to ensure the right prescription in the lenses (if they have any). Having the wrong prescription can be damaging and irritating for the eyes, especially for children. It could potentially rapidly increase the rate of eye deterioration. Having a lens that minimizes distortion will help with this.
Testing prescriptions ultimately lie with the optometrist (in most cases), but manufacturing eyeglass prescriptions accurately is crucial to improve your product quality. By using precision manufacturing, you can reach tighter tolerances at a higher level of process control, meaning your glasses prescriptions can be extremely accurate and you can ensure you’re delivering the best quality to your suppliers.
What we mean by durability with regards to safety is breakage. It's most likely that children will break their glasses at least once during their use, or they’ll try their very best!. If the glasses you manufactured or sold break, will they cause a hazard to a child? If you’re uncertain at all then you need to assess the quality of the eyeglasses you’re putting on the market. In most cases, manufacturers use lightweight or bendable materials, such as metal or molded nylon for durability.
#5 COMPONENTS & CONSTRUCTION
Small pieces such as hinges, screws, and decorative add-ons can be a huge safety hazard in kids' eyewear. Most kid's eyewear has rubber ends and a plastic band so that eyeglasses can fit securely onto the head. If you opt for a design with hinges and small components, you need to ensure that the construction of the eyeglasses is carefully considered, so the components don’t present any danger to the wearer. Any tiny bits used in eyewear need to be securely fastened and shouldn’t pose a swallow hazard.
#6 LAWS & REGULATIONS
There aren't many specific safety laws for creating children's eyewear that don't already fall under creating regular eyewear.