It’s an experience shared by many parents. You’re on your way to collect your child’s new pair of glasses. You know it’s going to go one of two ways:
1. A special and fun experience.
2. Just another battle waged with tears, screaming and embarrassment for all.
“You’ll need your first pair of glasses!”
These words from their optometrist can lead to mixed emotions from both child and parent. I’ve seen children jump out of the test chair with excitement at the idea; others respond with nervousness and anxiety. The truth is, people of all ages — especially children — will have some reaction to the idea of transforming their face with a new pair of glasses. I personally believe it should be a positive one — enabling the wearer to see the world far better and make life easier.
I’ve put together a few tips to ensure your little one loves wearing their new glasses; whether it’s their first pair or a new one.
Finding a child-friendly optician is the starting point for ensuring your child has a positive experience when it comes to their eye care — and sets them up for life. An Optician who isn’t rushed, has patience and has worked with children in the past will make a big difference when it comes to your child’s perception towards their eye needs.
If you know your child tends to find it hard adjusting to new situations or environments, you can request a ‘meet the team’ appointment or practice visit before the actual eye test itself. If your little one prefers calm environments, choose a practice that can deliver a quieter space.
Prioritise the practice over promotions. A pair of “free” glasses may not be the right fit for your child’s needs. Eye care is a lifelong journey, and you want an Optician who can support your child’s eye health in the long term.
One of the biggest reasons why children won’t wear their glasses is because they feel uncomfortable. This could be due to several factors, including how they are fitted by the dispensing Optician or lack of choice of child-specific eyewear at the practice. Signs of discomfort include fidgeting and red sores — particularly on their nose or ears. Thankfully, there’s some fantastic light, comfortable and quality eyewear made specifically for children. It truly is an investment in their health.
If your child feels great in their glasses, they’ll be excited to wear them. Having a positive experience at the Opticians, when it comes to their initial reception at the practice and testing all the way to trying on frames can make a big difference.
My little girl, Evelyn, loves the film Frozen. If I asked her if she wanted Frozen-themed glasses, she’d be more than delighted. But branded glasses aren’t always the best when it comes to selection of frames or fit. Always encourage that “feel good” factor over brands.
This is so important for the Optician and your child to feel valued and kicks off a great relationship. Also, as children grow quickly regular adjustments are normal — just because a frame is the right fit at the start, doesn’t mean it will be six months down the line.
Helping a child choose their glasses is an exciting time — and if you’re enjoying your experience (with the help of a child-friendly Optician), your child is likely to do the same.
Peter Herniman is a qualified dispensing optician for over 10 years and co-owner of Pinder’s Opticians in Nottinghamshire.