How To Choose Glasses for Your Child

There are a number of factors to keep in mind when choosing glasses for your child to ensure that it is a successful and enjoyable experience.

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How To Choose Glasses for Your Child Optometrist

Not Quite So Simple

On the surface, choosing glasses for your children sounds simple. By the time you start this process, you’ll already have their prescription, after all. However, there are other factors to consider. For example, how active is your child? What are the odds that the glasses will end up getting banged up from being dropped or impacts in sports? How much time daily will they spend wearing them? Will they be comfortable, and nice looking enough for the child to enjoy wearing them and not take them off all the time

Fortunately, there is no shortage of frame options, including those specifically designed to survive while worn by an active child. There are also numerous different brands and styles, so it should be possible to find frames that your child will be excited to wear on a daily basis.

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Ensuring a Proper Fit

From both a practical point of view (we don’t want glasses just falling off all the time) and a comfort one, it’s important to find your child glasses with a proper fit.

Beyond this, glasses with a proper fit will ensure that the lenses are in the right spot to provide the assistance they are there for. To make sure we achieve this, it’s important to give the child an opportunity to try on several frames to get a feel for them. The size and weight of the frame should be considered; glasses with a proper fit should not move when the wearer is lying down or taking part in physical activity. The three important factors to take into account are lens width, bridge width, and the temple (arm) length.

If the eyes are centered with the lenses both horizontally and vertically, and if the arms travel in a straight and parallel path from the hinges to the ears, then you know that you have a good fit. The best way to tell if the fit is right is to look at your child from directly across from them. 



There are three basic frame materials: wire, plastic, and flexible. When dealing with babies or active young children, flexible is probably the best option, as they are the most durable. For older children who are heavily involved in sports, it may be a good idea to get them an additional pair of glasses like sports goggles, which are both durable and very secure.

Wire frames with nose pads allow for increased adjustability, so in certain cases, such as with children who need an exact bifocal line, this is recommended.

Another aspect of glasses design that should be taken into account are the hinges. Since glasses are regularly taken on and off and the arms folded, they are weak points where glasses can break. To mitigate this risk, look for glasses with spring hinges. They allow the temples (arms) of the glasses to bend outward, so are less likely to suffer damage if a child decides to play with them, engages in rougher play, or falls asleep with them on.



Children’s lenses are generally made out of polycarbonate or Trivex. Both of these are much more impact resistant than other materials, and so safer for children. They are also lighter, which can make it more comfortable to wear, especially for children requiring strong lenses (which have to be thicker.)

Appearances Do Matter

Even though glasses are more common than ever in children, some might still feel self-conscious about starting to wear them. Fortunately, there are plenty of modern, attractive-looking designs for them to choose from. Additionally, if you choose to go with photochromic lenses (which darken automatically in sunlight) might encourage them to want to wear the glasses more and not have excuses to take them off as often.

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Make it a Fun Experience

Make it a Fun Experience

While there is plenty to think about when selecting glasses for your child, it's important to not let it become overwhelming. Make it an event, something exciting your child gets to participate in. Cultivating that positive attitude regarding the topic of glasses will carry over and assuage many of the concerns the child might have, and lead to both a better attitude regarding wearing glasses as well as improving the odds that they will be wearing them properly.

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Common Questions

Hardly anything is necessary when it comes to lenses, aside for the proper fulfilling of the Rx. However, there are things to be done that can improve the overall optical experience like adding an anti-scratch/anti-reflective coating to your lenses. So, let's make a distinction from the get go to avoid confusion later. All anti-scratch coatings are also anti-reflective or anti-glare but not all anti-reflective coatings have a scratch resistant quality. This is important when deciding on what type of AR to get on your lenses. Every AR is constructed differently and some offer just the refractive qualities of an AR while others incorporate the scratch resistance element as well. While it isn't necessary there are a myriad of benefits to choosing a scratch resistant coating for lenses. Not only do you get the benefits from your standard AR lenses but you'll also get that smoother, hydrophobic, scratch resistance which can contribute to an increase in lens longevity. Meaning, with a little bit of care, you'll get a lot more wear.
The great thing about style and fashion is it's a matter of preference. There are no wrong answers. With darker skin tones you can pick a shade that is similar to the skin which will offer a slight contrast and that could be appealing. You could go darker for a bolder look. You could also go to the other end of the spectrum with something very bright and light to have a high level of contrast. It's really about the persons personality as much as aesthetics and what they enjoy and feel like they can pull off.
Ultimately I would have to say that Trivex is the better material for a handful of reasons. It has a higher abbe value which produces a sharper image so the overall optics of the lens are better than polycarbonate. Aside from that, Trivex is also a little bit lighter than poly. Trivex has a comparable level of impact resistance to poly as well as being 100% UV rated.
It really depends on the abbe value which is the scale that rates how well the light passes through the material. The cleaner it passes through the better the optics of a lens. The higher the abbe value more light will get correctly to its destination on the retina. CR-39 has the highest value, followed by trivex, then hi-index, and then polycarbonate. In that order you will have most to less clear in terms of material.
The best way to select a frame is in person and with an experienced optical sales person. As helpful as pictures are, nothing will give a clear perspective like actually trying on a frame. Aside from that, an experienced optical professional will know the other factors to consider to get you into the right frame such as: age, complexion, gender, style, etc.
How To Choose Glasses for Your Child
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While there are many important things to consider when choosing glasses for your child, the process doesn’t have to be a stressful one for you or your child.

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