If you're a parent looking for the right glasses for your child, you probably know that walking into an optician can be confusing. There is no shortage of children's glasses. The problem is figuring out what kind of glasses your child is willing to wear and whether they will last long. Here are some tips for buying glasses for kids.
Glasses prescription is always the first consideration when choosing glasses. Before you start looking for frames, talk to your ophthalmologist or optician about your child's lenses. If the prescription calls for strong lenses that may be thicker, avoid large frames that add thickness to the lenses.
Most children feel self-conscious when they first wear glasses. So choose a frame with a modern, attractive style. Plus, features like photochromic lenses that automatically darken outside in sunlight may help motivate your child to wear glasses.
Children's frames are made of plastic or metal, and many frame styles are designed to mimic unisex frames designed for adults. Kids are usually drawn to these styles because they look more grown-up. In the past, plastic frames were a better choice for children because they were thought to be more durable, less likely to bend or break, lighter in weight, and less expensive.
But now, manufacturers are making metal frames that also include these features. Metal compositions vary, so ask your optician which one is best for your child based on experience with different alloys. If your child is sensitive to certain substances, choose frames made from hypoallergenic materials.
One of the most difficult parts of choosing the right frames for toddlers is that their noses are not yet fully developed, so they don't have a nose bridge to keep the plastic frames from slipping off. Metal frames, however, often come with adjustable nose pads so they fit everyone's nose bridge. Most manufacturers recognize this difficulty with plastic frames and make bridges that fit smaller noses.
Once you and your child agree on a frame that you both like, the next thing to consider is the lenses. Children's lenses should be made of polycarbonate or Trivex. These materials are more impact resistant than other lens materials for added safety.
Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses are also much lighter than regular plastic lenses, which makes the glasses more comfortable, especially for those with strong numbers. Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses have built-in protection from potentially harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, and the lenses are coated with a scratch-resistant coating by the manufacturer or the manufacturing laboratory.
Polycarbonate lenses typically cost about the same as regular plastic lenses with UV and scratch-resistant coatings. With polycarbonate, kids get an extra safety margin to protect their eyes. Trivex lenses may cost a little more than polycarbonate lenses. Avoid choosing glass lenses for children's glasses. While they are very scratch-resistant, glass lenses are very heavy and relatively easy to break (compared to polycarbonate or Trivex lenses).