Parents ask me some eye-opening questions about how to get their child used to the idea that they need to wear glasses. Let me see what information I can provide on this topic.
If your child has a problem seeing, glasses work to correct refractive or light-bending problems so your child’s eyes can focus better on an image.
How can you tell if your child might need glasses?
You may notice your child is having difficulty reading. Or maybe they sit very close to the TV, blink or squint a lot or get frustrated doing a puzzle or close work.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, an eye exam is in order to make the diagnosis. If a problem is found, then referral to an eye specialist comes next to determine the right kind of lens prescription for glasses.
What if your child is not happy about having to wear glasses?
Children can sense when parents are not happy, so be positive and upbeat about the whole thing. If a parent wears glasses, this is often easier for a child to adjust to.
Praising your child and telling them how good they look when they wear their glasses can help a lot with the adjustment. Having them go with you to pick the frames can go a long way to getting over this problem. Just don’t get anything too fancy, since kids have a way of sitting on and/or losing their glasses.
What about teasing?
Simply tell your child to tell others that wearing glasses helps them to see more clearly. Enlist the help of teachers to reinforce the point that while some people need glasses to see, that doesn’t make them different from anyone else who may not need to wear glasses. As you can imagine, Harry Potter has helped children be more accepting of glasses as well.
Children may overcome a reluctance to wear glasses when they realize how much clearer their vision is with their glasses. Contacts are a possibility if your child opposes wearing glasses as he or she gets older. Just as with glasses, your child must take responsibility for keeping the lenses clean – and disinfected daily.
Hopefully tips like this will allow you to focus more clearly on what to do if your child needs glasses.
Lewis First, MD, is chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. He is also chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and MyNBC 5, or visit the “First with Kids” video archives at www.UVMHealth.org/MedCenterFirstWithKids.