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.
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.
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.
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.
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.