Inside: Discover everything to need to know when you realize that “my child needs glasses.” From the emotional guilt to finding the right frames, this covers it all! This post contains affiliate links
The optometrist looks in my 3 year old’s eyes, “Wow, I’m glad you brought him in.”
I stand there looking at my son…my little boy, thoughts swirling in my head.
What does that mean? How bad is it? Can he really not see?
It didn’t take long before I saw just how bad it was.
She puts up a picture the size of the big E on adult eye charts and asks him to tell her what it is. He leans forward, squints, and says “A square?”
My heart sinks, I can feel the air escaping my lungs as I look up at the picture of a birthday cake.
Oh-my-gosh, he really can’t see. My baby can’t see.
As the exam ends, the Dr looks at me and says. “Your son will need to wear glasses full time. Right now he can only see about 6 inches in front of his face, and even that isn’t very clear. But the glasses will allow him to see birds, mountains, and leaves on trees, things he’s never seen before. His whole world is about to change!”
Tears prickled in my eyes, and a sudden surge of guilt hits me so hard I have to catch my breath.
I push back my tears and thank her profusely.
How did I not know it was this bad? I just got tired of telling him to sit back when we read books together, that’s the only hint I had that he might have vision problems. How could I not know he couldn’t see?!
Stepping out of her office, I see the one corner of the room with the YOUTH GLASSES sign and walked over. There were so many to choose from, yet none of them seemed small enough for him.
I only started wearing glasses after my last pregnancy, I have no idea what to get a 3-year-old.
Through my shock, a nice lady helps us pick out frames, I paid then went to the car and tried to hold back my tears so he wouldn’t know. How could I have not known?!
I went home and Googled everything I could find about kids and glasses. There was so much information about choices in frames, how to measure to get the right fit, and what exactly his prescription meant.
I was surprised at how overwhelming it all felt. It’s just glasses, millions of kids need them. Why was this so hard?
Looking back, I wish I had a guide, someone to tell me how to navigate these waters and tell me that it was normal to feel sad and guilty.
It’s been a few years since that morning at the eye doctor and my guilt has subsided. I’m confident that he’s in frames that fit, and my son loves his magic glasses.
I’ve learned a lot along the way, but there are several things I wish I had known before I knew my child needed glasses.
Sizing and Frames
Finding the right size, brand, and type of frames for my son was a lot harder than I expected it to be.
The problem is that there’s just so much information and too many choices in frames. I got overwhelmed trying to decide what was right for my son.
So here’s what I’ve learned…
Find Your Kid’s Size
That nice lady I mentioned above…she had no idea how to properly size and measure kids for glasses.
After talking with other parents, I’ve discovered that this is pretty common in your run of the mill frames shop.
Kids are always growing and you can’t just pick up any sized frames and go. It’s important that the fit is right so they get the most out of their prescription.
Before you buy, look in your local community for an eyewear shop that has a large selection of kid’s frames and call to see if they’ll measure your child for a proper fit.
When it comes to fit, the most important thing is to check and make sure that the eyes are perfectly centered in the lens. If you can get that right, then you’re ahead of the game.
The next thing to look for is the fit on the nose. If any gaps exist between the bridge of the frame and the bridge of the nose, the weight of the lenses will cause the glasses to slide down. So make sure it fits!
I highly suggest joining an amazing Facebook group called For Little Eyes – a group of parents for young kids in glasses. It’s a great place to get an idea of what a proper fit looks like and to ask any questions you may have about having a child in glasses. Plus, it’s such a large group that you can do a quick fit check (take a pic in the store with the frames on) and get almost instant replies back from very knowledgeable parents.
It’s been a lifesaver.
There are SO MANY Frames!!!
There are lots of frames to choose from. There’s Miraflex, Tomato, Dilli-Dalli, Jonas Paul, my son’s favorite Flexon, and many many more. It can be hard to pick, but they are all great options. You really can’t go wrong.
Now, if your child has a very small nose bridge there are some frames that are better than others. I hear Tomato and Spokiz are very good for this, but you can ask in the For Little Eyes Group and get some more suggestions.
I suggest letting your child make the final decision. I thought for sure I’d go with Miraflex, but my son hated them.
One trick I did learn is that if your child has a very strong prescription, go for a smaller more rounded frame and the lens won’t look near as thick.
Things You Didn’t Know You Needed
With most everything in this world, there are several accessories and gear that you might need to go with your kid’s glasses.
Straps and Stay Puts
A proper fit should mean that a child’s glasses won’t fall off. But kid’s are so active that it’s always a good thing to help keep those glasses on their face!
Stay puts go on the end of the glasses and sit right behind the ears. They are very soft because they are made of silicone.
Having a strap that goes behind the head is a good thing to have too. Some frames, like Miraflex, already come with a strap attached.
I use a strap only when we’re someplace where I’m afraid his glasses will fall off and get lost, like on roller coasters or in foam pits at a trampoline park.
EWIN(R) 12 pairs Sport Eyeglass Soft Anti Slip SIlicone Non Slip Hook Ear Lock Grip Holders12 Colors Anti-slip Glasses Strap Sports Glasses Strap Holder for Kids
Like most kids, my son LOVES being in the water.
But water and traditional frames don’t mix. He was having such a hard time playing because he couldn’t see without his glasses, yet if he wore them they’d get water all over them and he still couldn’t see.
I was so freakin’ happy when I discovered that prescription water goggles aren’t expensive at all!
I bought this pair for less than $20 and he LOVES them.
Aguaphile Junior Swimming Goggles for Kids and Early Teens
I’m totally a newbie when it comes to glasses and had no idea how to really clean them. I thought those cloths that come with the glasses were enough. Well, they aren’t, especially when you’re talking about kids.
I’m constantly amazed by the amount of gunk he gets stuck to his glasses. A little cloth isn’t getting that off!
Sprays are annoying and not portable at all, so I’d go with the cleaning wipes that already have alcohol on them.
I throw a few in my bag and in my car so I always have one with me.
Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Wipes – Cleans Without Streaks for Eyeglasses and Sunglasses – (200 Count)
Helping Your Child Adjust to Wearing Glasses
Wearing glasses can be a huge adjustment for anyone…especially super active kids.
Help your child not only get used to the idea of glasses but learn to love them.
How you talk about glasses matters.
Wearing glasses isn’t a bad thing, yet so many people say “oh, they have to wear glasses,” like it’s some sort of punishment.
When it comes to helping your child think positively about their glasses and helping them see that glasses are a good thing, it’s important that you embrace the glasses too.
Show your child how cool and exciting it is to wear glasses.
Instead of saying they “have” to wear glasses, twist it around and say that they “get to wear glasses!” Make them feel special.
We call my son’s glasses his magic glasses. And since he’s the only one in our family who needs them full time, he feels pretty special because he has something unique that the rest of us doesn’t.
Let them chose their frames.
These glasses are your child’s glasses and they have to be the one to wear them.
To help them really enjoy wearing their glasses, let them pick out their frames.
They’ll love them more than any pair you decide on and they’ll feel proud to wear the frames they picked out.
Find some good books for kids with glasses.
Books are great for helping children deal with big things. And getting glasses is a big deal for kids.
I love these books that talk about the struggles of having to wear glasses.
Douglas, You Need Glasses!I Can See Just FineArlo Needs GlassesLuna and the Big Blur
The Most Surprising Thing When Your Child Needs Glasses
When I took my son to the optometrist, I knew there was a possibility of him needing glasses, but I wasn’t sure.
So it was shocking to me that his vision was so bad and that I had missed the signs.
But the guilt hung around my heart for days. I could hardly speak about it without tearing up.
I kept telling myself to get over it and that it wasn’t that big of a deal. I mean, kids get glasses every day, but it took a long while for me to come to terms with this and even longer for me to shake off the guilt.
The guilt was so surprising because, in my logical brain, I knew that the guilt wasn’t necessary.
But it was still hard to shake.
After a while, the guilt wasn’t so overpowering, and I was able to see what a blessing it is that I’m able to provide my child with the glasses he so desperately needed.
I’ve spoken to several parents of children who have glasses, and I’ve discovered that we all feel the guilt. We all feel like we should have known earlier, that we should have been able to catch it.
It was so healing to know that I wasn’t alone and that I wasn’t crazy for feeling so sad and guilty.
So, if your heart sank when you found out that your child needs glasses too, you aren’t alone.
Thank you so much for this! I just found out my 3 year old needs quite strong glasses and have been overwhelmed with guilt. How could I not have known? I’m glad that I’m not alone in feeling this way. And the tips about finding glasses are fantastic!
Thank you, and you’re welcome!
I just found out yesterday my 3 year old could barely see out of 1 eye. This article helped me a ton! I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt so guilty for not knowing.
This is exactly where I am at! How could I not see any signs? I mean she really had no signs! We just went today after failing the screening at our 3 year old check up and my kiddo has HORRIBLE vision! Like the worst I’ve ever actually seen on any of my family or friends. I’m so worried what ever glasses we get are going to fall off. She did not show a single sign. I’m still in shock!
I definitely felt the guilt of not knowing and overwhelmed about getting it all right without any idea how! Thank you for the info and tips !! Even the doctors office couldn’t give me all of this comforting information.
You’re very welcome. My Dr.s office wasn’t all that helpful either, so I had to do lots of research. The Facebook group helped me a LOT!
I just found out yesturday my 4 year old needs glasses. I feel so guilty. Like how could I have not noticed. Reading your post made gave me hope and comfort. Thank you for sharing.
I hear you, I felt the exact same way! I’m glad the post helped.
Just found out yesterday my four year old daughter needs glasses. Props to you for keeping it together, when we walked into the glasses section and the lady was talking to me about the frames I just bursted into tears. As parents we just try so hard to protect our kids and do everything we can to make them healthy and happy, so I think it’s really had to deal with the fact that something happen that we couldn’t protect them from and for a while we had no idea. Thank for the book selections I think that’s a great idea for helping her get use to the glasses and making her feel special!
Yea, I did for a bit, but lost it when I told my husband. The guilt was so big!
i showed pictures of famous children who wear glasses and this seemed to help my grandson aged 5 eg ryan on utube superman harry potter etc
I love that idea!!
We just found out my almost 4 year old needs glasses. I went through every emotion that your article mentioned. I did join the Facebook group and found it extremely helpful! Thanks so much for taking the time to write and post your article. I feel much more confident going to our very small town eye doctor to pick out glasses. I would have never known that are almost 4 year old had astigmatism if it wasn’t for Preschool screening.
You’re very welcome!
Wow I had the exact same scenario happen with my 4 year old girl and found out she has a high level of astigmatism, how did your child react to the glasses at first? Then how did they adjust? Today wa her first day wearing them and it’s been very emotional for me, the first 5 minutes seemed to be the best thing IV ever done for her and ten after that she burst into tears and was scared so I gave her a rest, then later tho afternoon I tried getting her to do a piano lesson as usual like she would every day since she was 2 but with her glasses on and it turned out horrible she said she can’t read the notes with the glasses an said the paper is to shiny and said it’s all to big, did your child have the same problem or has she been given the wrong prescription I’m going through a new guilty emotional feeling and need help is this normal, can it be scary for them when they have been adjusted to seeing/focusing with bad eyes? Have I done the right or wrong thing for her I feel so sad for her as she loves her learning and her piano yet she was discouraged from it all due to her glasses what is going on someone please help me with some friendly advice
I find it helpful that you said that parents can find the right size of eyeglasses for their child by going to a local eyewear shop to have them measured for one. When you said that, it convinced me to accompany my neighbor and her daughter to one tomorrow. That way, she would be able to read her books at school properly so that she would be able to catch up with the rest of her classmates.
I hope the appointment went well, you sound like a great friend 🙂
We just went through the exact same situation with our 3yr old daughter. The shock of just how bad her eyesight is, the saddness and the GUILT! I seriously needed to read this -thank you so much for sharing and offering some concrete advice!
You’re welcome! The guilt was crazy, I was surprised it hit me so hard. I’m glad this helped you feel better.
Thank you so much for writing this, I found out my 5 year old needs glasses full time and the guilt is really starting to sink in so this is reassuring. Your tips and advice are brilliant too xx
You’re very welcome, I’m glad this helped.
This is really helpful thanks! I just found out that my 7 year old needs glasses and his first rx is -2 in one eye and -1.75 in the other, which is rather high! can you give an update as to what was his first prescription number and how it has progressed? my son is myopic and I hear it only gets worse. 🙁
Hi there. My son is myopic as well with a -7.5 prescription. It has progressively gotten worse over the past 3 years, but we’re now seeing an ophthalmologist instead of an optometrist and are actively doing some things to slow down the progression. I know it’s scary to think things can get worse, but your Dr. might have some tips on slowing it down some. But, go see a pediatric ophthalmologist…I wish I had known about them sooner. Good luck!
Your post is so much helpful and encouraging. Thank you for getting me out of such guilt. Thank you.
I just found out yesterday that my 4 year old boy needs glasses and quite a strong prescription. I’ve been so upset and couldn’t explain to anyone why I was so upset. It was the guilt. This article helped me so much this morning. Great tips as well. Thank you so much!
It really is hard to explain, I get it though. Much love to you and your son.
THANK YOU! I needed to read this. I’m having such guilt about not taking my daughter to an ophthalmologist sooner. She just turned 5 and we just went today to pick out her first pair of glasses. Thank you for all the tips.
I am so glad you wrote this article! It has been so helpful. My 4 year old daughter just went to the optometrist today and because of your tips, it made her visit so much easier. I bought her the Arlo Needs Glasses book before the visit and it helped so much. She loves it! The optometrist was also shocked that she knew what a phoropter was. She even was excited about trying on the glasses. Anyway, thanks again!
Thank you! Great points. So much guilt… ! Telling myself it’s all going to be ok.
Wonderful article, Which you have shared here about the glasses.
These glasses are looking very beautiful and incredible in design.
I just found out a week ago my daughter failed her eye test at school. She brought home a note from the school nurse. ? I set up appointment with eye dr. and found out both eyes have stigmatism. Felt guilty, sad, i have same condition. ? She was ok with picking out glasses, quite even excited about it. More relief than ever though, that she will be able to see much better now. And even do better with her schoolwork. This site helps too, others out there that feel the same. Im not alone. Thank u
Thank you so much for writing this. I just found out my 12 week old little girl has astigmatism and needs glasses for life. I am heartbroken but am so relieved to read your post and have just requested joining that fb group. Thank you so much
How did you find out so early that your daughter needed glasses? My 3.5 year old daughter has the same problem but we just caught it 🙁
Ughh…..Needed this more than you know. There is not much help out there and people at the eye docs become so complacent. I went to get my sons PD so I could order glasses online and each and every eye place I went gave him a different PD. I was so upset at the experience in itself but then to not have 1 person lend a helping hand or stop for 1 sec to explain made matters that much bigger. My guilt grew bigger and bigger every day I didn’t get any answers. I did finally find that 1 person to help me and that is YOU! I needed this post more than you can realize. My 4 year old started glasses yesterday. I wasnt aware you were supposed to take the child back to the vision place to get the glasses fitted and that is another point to let parents know as well. I just slid the glasses on and thought thats it!! It helps to know you are not alone. Thank you for your referrals and kind words.
Thanks so much for article, my little girl (2) needs glasses and it looks like my son (6) does as well and your article was very helpful 🙂
Thank you!! I took my 4 year old into the ophthalmologist this afternoon to get a chalazion examined and found out her eyelid is fine but her vision isn’t. I was floored and felt so much guilt that she’s been walking around with blurred vision this whole time. I’m relieved it’s not just me. Here’s hoping we can help her adjust to her new pair of glasses quickly.
Thanks for your blog! In our province we have a 4 year old check up with a public health nurse, they do a simple eye and hearing test, my son failed! I had no idea, we went to the optometrist right away, I still didn’t think he was going to need glasses, thought the Dr would say he was growing and we would recheck in a year but he ended up with a pretty strong prescription and has to wear glasses full time. I felt guilty for days, would cry off and on, I had no idea that he couldn’t see for 4 years, it broke my heart. The thing that amazed me was that from the first time he put the glasses on he never took them off (except for bedtime) I was so scared on how I was going to get my child who doesn’t like to play in mud because he couldn’t stand stuff on his hands was going to wear something on his face full time! It was not a problem, such a huge relief 🙂 now I am so sick of seeing his glasses on the tip of his nose so I am looking for straps etc.
My 3.5 year old girl has stigmatizem and she’s far sighted! Her prescription is +5.5 and 6.25!!!! These really high numbers for a 3 year old :’( does anyone else have these numbers for a kid? I feel like my heart is about to explode from guilt and pain. What did I do wrong? Doctor said she was born this way and it’s nothing I did but I feel GUILTY!
My son had a -7.75 and -7.5 when we first found it when he was 3. You didn’t do a thing wrong, but the guilt is totally normal, Mama.
My daughter has been complaining about how blurry her vision is; that’s why we’re currently looking for a pediatric eye doctor that may run an eye text on her. I guess you’re right about the importance of finding the right size, brand, and type of frames when choosing for an eyeglass. I never knew that there are various types of frames such as Miraflex, Tomato, Dalli-Dalli, and Flexon.
I’ve been wearing glasses since I was a child. And I remember when my mom took me to the eye doctor for the first time and I was told I needed full time glasses my mom helped make the experience exciting for me.
She helped me pick out some glasses. She always made buying glasses a exciting event never something to be ashamed of and she’d get a pair too.
You as a parent shouldn’t feel bad for not noticing your baby had vision problems. My mom didn’t know until I was age ten and a teacher told her I was complaining of seeing the board.
I went ten years thinking the world was supposed to look fuzzy, LOL. But I don’t look down at my mother for not noticing my vision issues sooner, because she didn’t know and neither did I. You’re son will probably thank you one day that you love him so much that you want him to be able to see the world like you do.
What a great article! We just found out today my 4 year old needs glasses. Your article is the first one I read that came up. It was so informative and helpful. Thank you! We live in the water so I am looking into the prescription swim goggles.
I’m so glad I decided to use Dr Google to find out if anyone else is feeling how I feel after finding out my four-year-old son needs glasses. I’ve been feeling a deep sadness and lots of guilt since I found out today. I can’t help but feel guilty for not realising why he would want to stand in front of the tv instead of on our sofa. Thank you for this – just knowing my feelings are felt by others makes me feel better and not irrational.
Oh I’m so glad. My so also stood right in front of the TV and I couldn’t figure out why…ugh. I get comments and emails from people all the time who have felt the same guilt, trust me, you aren’t alone!