Children's eyeglasses are easy to shop for. You just need a little bit of background knowledge, a few tips, and to know where to look.
General Information about Kids' Glasses
Children's eyeglasses are required to have polycarbonate lenses because they are shatterproof. They also have built-in UV protection and are more lightweight than their plastic counterparts. Polycarbonate lenses are required for all eyewear designed for those who are eighteen and under.
There is a variety of types of children's frames. This variety allows you to, hopefully, find eyeglasses your child will at least tolerate well if not enjoy wearing. There are styles for the fashionistas who want colorful plastic frames and for those who would rather not wear glasses at all and want something as inconspicuous as possible-just like in the adult selection of frames.
Tips for Buying Children's Eyeglasses
- If you can find a buy one, get one free deal, jump on it. Children are notorious for accidentally breaking their glasses on the playground. At the very least, purchase a "main" pair and then shop online for cheap backup pairs. Zenni Optical is a good place to go for inexpensive frames. You can use the lens size and bridge measurements from the pairs your child tries on to get an idea of the best size to order.
- Have an optician measure the pupillary distance so you don't have to do it later for an online order.
- Listen carefully to the instructions given to you by your child's eye care provider and choose frames accordingly. If they only have to wear them while watching television or seeing the board at school, you may be able to get by with a less durable-and less expensive-design.
- Shop for spring-hinge designs. These allow for extra flexibility and are less likely to break when taken off or put on. They stretch out at the temples to prevent the breakage. For even more flexibility, try frames that are flexible all over. There are some styles out there that will allow you to almost tie the legs in knots, then they spring back to their original shape. Some children will be instructed to wear their glasses full-time, and near-indestructibility will be very important.
- If the prescription is high in number, especially if it has a plus symbol (+) in front of the first number on the prescription, the lenses may still be heavy. Choose the smallest frames possible to cut down on the bulk and weight involved.
- For young children's eyeglasses, sometimes you can find frames with curved rubber legs that loop behind the ears, offering a more secure fit and decreasing the likelihood that the child will remove them and toss them away. There are also straps that hook from one leg to the other behind the head on traditional frame styles. Those work well for older children who don't like to keep their glasses on or those who play sports.
- If you're aware of any metal allergies that your child may have, be sure to check the metal composition of the frames. Metal frames come in all types, so if a metal frame is what your child desires, you should be able to find one that will work. Some frames even have plastic coverings on the legs to prevent allergic reactions where the metal touches the skin; with these, you still get the look of a metal frame without the irritation.
- Check the warranty on any pair of eyeglasses you buy. You may be able to get free repairs or replacement frames for up to a year.
Pre-teens and Teens: Have a Look
Some of the children's eyeglasses are designed with older children in mind and don't scream "kiddie glasses!" What they do have to offer are trendy frames, a wide variety of colors, and a smaller size that may fit some pre-teens and teens better than those designed for teens or adults. Don't choose glasses that have telltale signs on the outside that the brand is for kids, and no one ever has to know which rack they came from. The result is a more comfortable fit and a more flattering look. What image-conscious teen doesn't want those?
Where to Look
You don't have to order your children's eyeglasses from the office where the eye exam took place. You can request a copy of the prescription and shop around for the best price. Be aware that your child will need to have their pupillary distance measured, so shopping online can be a challenge if you don't get that measurement first. You could find yourself wrestling with a child and a ruler to measure the distance between his or her pupils. It's much easier to let the optician use a machine in an office. If you don't find anything you or your child like in the selection at the optometrist's selection, feel free to go to other offices to peruse the selections. Try:
- Frames Direct
- Zenni Optical
- Pearle Vision
Buying children's sunglasses isn't as intimidating as it may sound.