Shopping for Children’s Glasses: A Parent’s Guide
Most parents think their child’s vision is fine, or they fail to recognize the early signs of poor eyesight. It wasn’t until after I took my son to the optometrist that I found out that more than 80 percent of learning relies on being able to see properly, whether it be watching a movie in class, reading a book or trying to see the blackboard.
If your child cannot see properly, he may act out in retaliation. My son couldn’t see what the teacher was writing on the blackboard and instead of saying something to her, he fidgeted and misbehaved out of sheer boredom. If your child is sitting so close to the television that he or she is blocking everyone else’s view, he may not be doing it on purpose just to be annoying. He may have difficulty seeing.
Signs of Poor Eyesight
To avoid something similar happening to your child, watch out for these signs that your child may need glasses:
- Sitting too close to the television
- Rubbing his eyes too much
- Squinting or straining to see
- Exhibiting light sensitivity
- Difficulty seeing objects from far away
- Trouble focusing when following an object
- Tilting head often while looking
- Difficulty reading and losing his place frequently
- Frequent dizziness or headaches
The Dreaded Doctor
Now that you have noticed these signs and you think your child needs glasses, next comes the part all parents dread – taking your child to the eye doctor. Small children can be frightened about going to all doctors, optometrists included. There are many big, scary machines at an optometrist’s office. Consider preparing your child in advance. I decided to tackle this obstacle early by going online and to our local library to check out websites and books that were made for this purpose – helping my child to feel comfortable about going to the eye doctor.
One of his favorites was the Nick Jr. site. They have an entire section dedicated to pro-glasses games, pretend eye charts, stickers and coloring pages. They even take your child’s favorite Nick Jr. character and put him or her in a situation where they need glasses so your child can feel like a big kid.
How to Save Money
I was shocked by the prices of glasses in stores. Fortunately, a family friend mentioned that she purchased her husband’s glasses online and saved up to 80% for the same pair of glasses they were trying on in the store. I had to see this for myself.
I had to make sure I had all of my child’s information in hand including the frame size, prescription (you will have to ask for this but the optometrist is required by law to do so), and pupillary distance, the distance between both pupils.
If this is your first time buying your child’s glasses online, you may want to take him to a store just to try on a few pairs and check the fit. Write down the sizes that fit well. Each frame will have three numbers inside the temple – the glasses’ lens width, bridge size and temple length.
Compare and Save
There are a variety of places you can purchase your child’s glasses but it’s best to shop around first. However, let’s face it: your child will probably break his glasses at some point. Is it really worth it to buy an expensive pair? With the money I saved buying glasses online, I was able to buy two pairs of glasses and I used one as a backup in case something happened to the first pair. Here are some things to consider while shopping around:
Discount Stores – These stores sell glasses that are cheaper than the optometrist’s office.
- Pros: You will save money and also be able to shop for other items you may need for your household.
- Cons: Sometimes the quality of these glasses isn’t up-to-par and the frames may not be ready quickly.
Warehouse Clubs – Warehouse clubs offer discounted prices on glasses that go a step further than discount or warehouse stores. You have to purchase a membership but it entitles you to even more savings. The quality of the glasses is usually better, too.
- Pros: You can save even more and you have the same convenience of picking up everything on your shopping list. These frames are of the same quality as the ones in your optometrist’s office.
Online Stores – This is, by far, the way to go. You can save up to 80% off store prices for glasses and get the same quality as you would if you were to purchase locally.
- Pros: You get the biggest savings and you can order from the comfort of your home. The glasses are shipped to your door and if for some reason they don’t fit, most retailers offer a money-back guarantee.
- Cons: You are unable to try the frames on in person and you also may have to wait a few days for the glasses to be delivered.
Choose Frames With (Not For) Your Child
I can’t stress how important it is to involve your child when it comes to picking out frames. Not only was it hard enough to get him to behave at the eye exam, but if you try to keep something on his face that he doesn’t like, it won’t last.
Let them choose a pair (within reason, of course). My son wanted aquamarine or tiger strips. I promptly said no. Come to a compromise. Figure out which style looks best and give him options. This will make him feel like a big kid and save you from any embarrassment in public (unless you are one for originality).
Now that you are fully prepared to embark on this adventure with your child, what are you waiting for? Begin by noticing the signs or symptoms of poor eyesight and take it from there. Get your child to the eye doctor and start looking for the best deals on your glasses. While your child may give you a rough time, he will thank you for it. Eventually.
Sara Roberts is a content contributor for Just Eyewear, a prescription eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses retailer. After learning how easy, and cheap, it was to buy glasses online, Sara began to share the news with all her friends (and pursue a job opportunity in the field as well). She loves being a mom, and finding the best bargains for her money.
cc licensed flickr photo shared by Up Your Ego