What to Do if Your Child Needs Glasses

Though today’s modern digital age has its perks, it’s also posing unprecedented risks to our eyesight. On average, Canadians spend 3.2 hours a day looking at screens. During this time, they blink less, reducing moisture and causing dry eye syndrome. Though this is easily fixed by using artificial tears, taking screen breaks, and blinking more, the impacts of device use are more apparent among kids than adults. Looking at gadgets up close forces the eye to accommodate close-up vision, elongating the eyeballs and causing myopia (nearsightedness). 


Eyesight Changes

Kids usually adjust to eyesight changes and may not tell you about them, so you might not know immediately. However, you can look for signs like them squinting, following words with a finger when reading, rubbing their eyes, or holding something too close to see it. All these things indicate your child may need glasses. 

If you’ve observed these symptoms and are wondering what to do next, here’s what you can do. 

Explain What’s Going On 

Your child should understand what’s happening with their eyes. If you’ve noticed the above symptoms, take them aside, ask about any pain or discomfort they’re experiencing, and link those symptoms to eye issues. Tell them how refractive errors like myopia occur in age appropriate language. Emphasize that vision changes can worsen, and treating them will eliminate symptoms like headaches. Along the way, answer their questions. Making time to explain what’s going on will demystify vision issues, make them less scary, and empower your child to take the initiative when it comes to eye health. They’re more likely to be on board for things like eye exams and wearing eyeglasses, which will make it easier for you to safeguard their vision.  

Get Their Eyes Checked 

Once your child is in the right headspace to get an official diagnosis, consult an optometrist. Booking a comprehensive test outside those provided in school can more effectively detect vision issues so you can treat them early. These should be easy to access: in Ontario, for example, eye exams are free for those aged 19 and under with an OHIP card. Give your kid agency by ensuring they’re comfortable with the professional you visit. If they’re diagnosed with an eye issue, they will most likely be asked to wear prescription glasses. Encourage them to take charge of their health by asking the optometrist questions about this after the exam. That will help them better understand their eye health, what’s at stake, and why wearing glasses is crucial to address any issues.  

Buy the Glasses 

When selecting your kid’s specs, make sure they fit comfortably and are made of durable frame and lens materials like polycarbonate. They’re also more likely to wear a pair they love, so let them choose what they want to wear. For example, they can nab eyewear similar to those worn by their favourite celebrities or fictional characters. If they like pop culture icons like Tom Cruise and Harry Potter, have them look at Ray-Ban’s kid’s catalog. It includes eyeglasses like the Round Double Bridge Kids and the kid’s version of the popular Aviators, which can emulate those worn by their heroes. They can also opt for pairs with fun and colorful designs by turning to brands like Ocean Pacific. Its collections boast funky, flexible frames, with models like the OP 843 and 844 coming in fun shades like blueberry and grape. 


Give Them Support 

Even if you equip them with all the knowledge and aids they need, your child or children may still have a hard time adjusting to glasses. You’ll thus want to support them as much as you can. One thing you can do is shower praise. Tell them how good their new glasses look on them or point out things they can see that they wouldn’t have noticed without vision correction. This positive aspect of parenting can help them build healthier habits, like wearing eyeglasses more often. You can also model good behaviour by wearing glasses yourself if you don’t already. Kids often mimic their parents’ behavior, and this step can help normalize wearing specs and make their adjustment period easier. Finally, be open to their concerns. If they still experience things like headaches a couple of weeks after getting new specs, they may have the wrong prescription and might need another exam to update it.  

More Kids Experiencing Vision Issues

More kids are experiencing vision issues, and yours may be among them. If your child needs glasses, the above tips can prevent their eye conditions from progressing over time—helping them maintain their eyesight into adulthood.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.

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