There Is More Than Meets The Eye...
In my experience as an optician, I've run into many kids who do not want to wear their next pair of glasses after they have already worn glasses for a while. Typically, what happens is your child becomes so comfortable with his current glasses that he has become attached to them. He is familiar with the feel, the look and the vision of his current glasses, but eventually because of growth and/or prescription changes, it will be time for a new pair.
With this new pair, you of course may have changes in prescription, but also it is important to consider how changing the frame will affect how the glasses feel on his or her face. Each change will require a period of time for your child mentally to get used to and be comfortable with.
Here's where there is a problem: I get concerned when we make too many changes. So when choosing a new pair of glasses for your child, it is wise to consider how many changes you're asking your child to get used to all at once. Obviously when talking about a prescription change, the child will need to get used to his or her new vision, but what about the frame changes? Too many changes at once may completely overwhelm a sensitive child.
My rule of thumb is no more than three changes at one time and one of those is the prescription!
When looking at a new frame, first consider the size and weight of the new frame. Is it heavier? Heavier glasses are a major change to a child! They will push down more everywhere they touch the child's head and face, which can be unnerving to a small child.
Are you changing from a plastic frame to a metal frame? A metal frame generally has nose pieces and sits further away frame the face. A plastic frame generally has a molded bridge and sits close to the face. Each style feels quite different on the face.
If your child had a metal frame and you are getting a new metal frame, look at the nose pieces. The nose pads come in different shapes, materials and sizes. If your child has grown to prefer a certain type, it's an easy remedy to change or exchange them out for the kind your child has become accustomed to.
One area that few people think about is the temples or side pieces. Look at the difference in thickness. Wider temples are definitely in style, but once again feel quite different on the face. A wide temple has a larger pressure point ion the head. If your child's ears sit tight to their head a wide temple could actually hurt them and break the skin at the top of the ear. so if you are looking at a frame that is thicker this is something to consider. Of course, the frame area behind the ear can be adjusted, but the optician can not make the temple thinner.
Changing your child's look is a lot of fun. It is an extension of his or her personality and there are so many fun kids glasses to choose from. When it comes to choosing, there is more that meets the eye...think about everything that will touch your child's face on the new pair and compare it to the old. There will always be some changes and changes are often necessary, but it's a good idea to keep the amount of changes to a minimum.
The most important thing you can do for your child's vision is to make sure your child is comfortable wearing his new glasses! When I fit young children, I always consider how much we are asking them to get adjusted to in the new pair. If that means we change the nose pieces to match the old pair or even rule out a pair because there will be too many changes, then that's exactly what we do.
"I Don't Like These"
“I don't like these.”
This was the eleventh pair the little boy had chosen off the shelf and then not liked.
“Why not?” I asked.
“I can't see,” he answered.
Most little kids don't quite understand that the glasses they're trying to pick out aren't going to make them see better right away, or that they might feel funny. He thinks “Hmm, my glasses I have make me see better. I can't see as well out of these, and they don't feel like my other ones. I better try another one!”
Here's how I explain to a little on that we still need to make the glasses:
First, simply ask why he doesn't like them. If he says something like: “They're to loose/ tight/ itchy/ yucky,” then it's probably a fitting issue. I get down at eye level with the kiddo and say something like “Well that's OK! Do you know what my job is? My job is to make the glasses you pick feel really good like your old glasses! So don't worry about them feeling too loose/ tight/ itchy/ yucky, because I'm going to fix that for you.”
If he says something like, “They're too blurry,” then really he's just noticing not having his prescription. So I'd say something like “Well, lets pretend for a minute that these would make you see better. Because when I put your special lenses in them, you will be able to see just like in your old glasses! So don't worry, which ever glasses you pick, you'll be able to see out of. Just focus on how they look on you.”
If your child can't see well enough without his or her glasses to look in a mirror, here's a few tips:
Pick a few out and then put her glasses back on and let her inspect them. Sometimes there's a little detail that they couldn't see that they might really like (or really not like)!
Take pictures of him in the new frames and let him look at it with his glasses on. With the rise of smart phones, this has become easier and easier! We always have an iPad around the office though, just in case.
Sometimes it's not either of these things! I had a child come into my office to get new glasses and he was looking for something very particular and wasn't finding it, to the point of tears! Finally he says “I want the dots on my glasses.” I was very confused so I asked him to point to the dots. He pointed to the temple covers on the ends of his glasses, and sure enough, there was a little gummy dot on the end of them! I went on to explain that I could put that on any of the glasses and he brightened right up!
Just bear in mind that most of the time kids won't remember the last time they got glasses. Helping them understand why these new glasses aren't like the other ones makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable!
It's A Whole Big World
Myopia or nearsightedness, is exactly what it sounds like. It is an eye that is sighted at near, but can not see well far away. If your child has recently been prescribed glasses for myopia, then he or she may be having some difficulties appreciating this new vision. My goal is to help you first of all understand what your child is experiencing and secondly to give you tips on making the experience more positive.
When a young child is nearsighted, they create this whole world centered around where they can see. They enjoy focusing on near object, they look at and really concentrate on the smallest of things for hours. So the life of the myopic child is quite pleasant and they are often very content. A two year old, rarely has the need to read in the distance or even identify something from the distance, so they really don't feel like they are missing out on anything. Because of this, we can give them new glasses and they will not think twice about this great new vision that they now have, this vision beyond the reach of their arms.
When we first put the glasses on your child, they will likely continue doing what they normally do. They will begin to play and focus on the things that are close to them. Unfortunately, from the child's perspective, there is no increased visual benefit in the world that they have created. In fact, we may have made things a little bit uneasy because a lens that corrects for nearsightedness has a minification effect. This will make everything they have enjoyed looking at appear smaller. Sounds frustrating doesn't it? This is why correcting for myopia in a small one can take some convincing.
You might be wondering, why do we need to correct for nearsightedness if my child doesn't need to read signs in the distance? Let me put your mind at ease. Correction for myopia is necessary in a young child. It is essential if your child is ever going to look beyond his or her arms and truly enjoy this world around them. It's not just necessary for vision development but over all development as well. I know you will love watching your child's world expand...it is always so fun to see my little nearsighted patients see things for the first time.
Here are a few suggestions:
- When your child first puts his or her glasses on whether it is for the first time ever or the first time that day, don't put them on while they are playing! Put them on your child while he is walking around. Put them on him when he is watching television. When I put glasses on a myopic child for the first time, I always step away and call out their name. I grab their hand and start walking around. I'll even take them to a window and point to the cars or the flowers outside. I want to show them what they have been missing!
- For the first week, go for a walk everyday when you put the glasses on your child. Point out the trees and the birds. Really show off this new world!
- Cut out little pictures from magazines or print them out of your computer and tape them up high on the walls of your house. Now take your child on a hunt and point to all the surprise pictures! As your child gets older, put a new picture on the wall across from their bed every night while they are sleeping. This will encourage her to put her glasses on first thing in the morning, just to see the surprise!
- Work on gross motor skills. Instead of doing a puzzle, encourage your child to throw a ball at a target in the distance.
- When your child is back home in his or her "comfortable world," you may find that he will want to take them off. Remember, things aren't any clearer up close when he has his glasses on. To help remedy this issue, don't let him get a bunch of toys out and play with them. Just let him play with one at a time away from the other toys. This way he will need to look up and even go over to the other toys. This is a great way to help your child understand the need to see things at a distance even while playing with things that are close.
Hopefully, you can understand now why it can be a bit of a challenge getting your little myope to enjoy his or her new vision. Try using some of these suggestions. With a little time and pateience, your nearsighted kiddo with begin to enjoy this whole big world around them!
Everything was going just fine and then, BAM...my child will not leave his glasses on...
We run into this situation from time to time. Your child is the model eyeglass wearer and then suddenly you can't get them to keep their glasses on even if you bribed them with ice cream, candy and another viewing of Frozen. In my experience, nearly every single time this happens there is a reason. Most children under the age of five have difficulty verbalizing what may be the problem, but they have no difficulty taking matters into their own hands and by matters, I mean their glasses!
It's important to remedy this issue as soon as possible. If it goes on for a long time, your child will only associate their glasses with a bad experience and by then it doesn't matter if you fix the problem, your child will only remember that this is a problem. Here are seven steps that you can go through to find out what the problem is so you can get your little one back to wearing them as soon as possible.
- Too loose?
Do your child's glasses look like they are fitting properly? They should be straight on the face and not sliding down. If a child's glasses rock around on his or her face while playing it becomes distracting and the first thing they will do is take them off. If this is the case, then visit your optician and get them adjusted.
- Too tight?
Children are always in that constant state of growth. Maybe your child's glasses need a little growth adjusting. Two things that may indicate this are:
Marks on the sides of the head where the side pieces lay. As your child's head gets wider, this pressure increases and can cause headaches.
Deep impressions left on the nose may indicate that the temples or side pieces are getting to short. As the distance from the eye to ear increases this can leave the glasses pulling tight against the sinuses. This can be quite uncomfortable. If this is the case, bring your child into the optician and show them the marks. Your optician can adjust the glasses for growth. If they do not have any room for adjustment, then your child should be fit with a larger pair.
- Those little rubbery nose pads
I run into this often. On metal frames there are these nice soft silicon nose pads. They are quite comfortable, but only if they are not broken in some way. Sometimes I have parents come in and say they put the rubber back on.
The nose pad has a hard plastic or metal core with soft silicon over top. This silicon can separate and come off sometimes as a sleeve, but its not supposed to do that. If this happens, please replace it as soon as possible.
But sometimes, the silicon is just cracked a little bit. You almost can't see it without a very close inspection. These cracks in the silicon leave the hard plastic exposed underneath and when it presses down on your child's nose, it is very uncomfortable. Mix that crack with a little sweat and oily skin and it can be quite painful. My point is that the pad may look just fine, but it could be making your child unhappy about his or her glasses.
Inspect the pads closely. Take your fingernail up and down the pad and side to side. If you see anything separate in the silicon, it needs to be replaced.
- Ear trouble
Time to look behind your child's ears. If your child has wrap-arounds or cable temples, look to make sure that it is not torn in any way. Any uneven surface behind the ear can be very distracting. Check the ends of the temples or side pieces for bite marks. Even a tiny bite mark can be painful to the thin skin behind the ear. If you see anything it should be repaired or replaced.
- Dirt and scratches
Anything on the lenses will decrease your child's vision. If it decreases it enough, your child won't want to be bothered with wearing them. First, clean the glasses then hold them up to the light. Look for marks or scratches. Anything that is deep enough to see and especially in the center of the lens could be causing a problem. It's best if you have any questions about whether or not it could be bothering your child's vision to visit your optician.
- Righty tighty, lefty loosy
Believe it or not, I've had some children who refuse to wear their glasses just because the screw was a little loose. When screws are lose on a frame it can be a little wobbly on the face and some kiddos can be sensitive to how that feels. But hey, if tightening a screw gets your child to wear his or her glasses...how easy is that?
- Time for a change?
It's possible your child is experiencing some kind of prescription change. I always keep this possibility in mind after I've explored all the other reasons. What better way to say, "These don't work like they used to," than to fire the glasses for doing a bad job? That is simply what many kids do when they refuse to wear their glasses. If your child has normally been compliant with wearing his or her glasses, but has chosen to put up a fight, this is a real possibility. I would recommend calling your doctor and getting an appointment. Your doctor plans to see your child at certain intervals, but if anything changes they will want to see them sooner. Your child suddenly refusing to wear his or her glasses is definitely a change.
A Child's Eyes...Celebrating 10 years!
This month we will be celebrating our 10-year anniversary at A Child’s Eyes. I am so thankful for each of the many, many people who have supported the “vision.” Truly, we are grateful for all the wonderful people we have been able to serve as well as the many doctors that have directed patients to us. In such an competitive economy, where many businesses open only to close a short time later, we know how blessed and fortunate we are to still be here.
Ten years ago God instilled in my heart a desire. This desire was to have an optical shop dedicated especially to the vision needs of children, a place where patients could come from any doctor's office, where families could come and not only get expertly-fitted glasses, but also where children could see, touch and play with everything around them. I wanted an environment that parents would be able to ask as many questions as they needed and where families would be able to encourage one another with their own experiences.
But having a desire and seeing it come to pass are two very different things. As my husband and I made a business plan and sought out help from banks and small business associations, we only found dead ends. A few accountant's professional advice was simply to forget about doing it. We even considered adding a partner to the business. Many of you probably already know this, but no one wants to give you money unless you already have money. We were a young family with three young children, 10, 8 and 5. Money was something we definitely didn’t have. However, we knew God’s plan and that was something we did have!
Eric and I had a little bit of money in an IRA and some equity in our home. It was a good bit less than half of what our business plan said we needed. We prayed and took on God as our only partner. I can’t explain the peace I felt, but defying all the world's wisdom and trusting God’s infinite wisdom brought me to this place of “crazy” trust, trust in Him!
As we marched forward, things started to come into place. Those battles we tried to fight on our own just melted in the face of God’s plan. I was able to negotiate contracts with vendors that were unprecedented. Some vendors gave me as much as 18 months to pay for the frames that would fill our displays. Most vendors demand full payment in 30 days! Many sales representatives that I had worked with over the years took personal responsibility for the merchandise that I purchased. The displays themselves were custom-made by an expert friend who opened his cabinet shop to us for a small hourly amount, saving us 75% off the retail price. What a blessing it was to have that kind of support!
I can tell you that, although we are far from “rich” in the world’s standards, I have never missed a payment on what we owed. We struggled as my husband worked at the office during the day, and on third shift and weekends to make up for the loss of my paycheck and, of course, to supply health care for the family. It has been in no way easy, but in all ways directed!
Ten years later and our children are now 20, 18, and 15 years old! Jax, my oldest child, has received her Optician certification and I am blessed to able to employ her. She is such a tremendous and loving person. She has always been our Pied Piper, attracting children (and stray animals) where ever we go. She has added so much to A Child’s Eyes! Jax embodies the standards that I have always tried to work by, to make every person feel loved and welcome right from the moment they enter the door and to always remember Who it is that we serve!
Max is my second-oldest child. He has also started working in the business just last year. Although he's not overly fond of small children, he excels at being the behind-the-scenes person. He has maintained all of my websites for years already and also uses his gift for doing precise work to craft the eyewear in my lab. I am so thankful that he has decided to be a part of the business too!
Carson is my youngest and still in school. He certainly does a lot of work around the office though. All three kids have done “chores” around the office from the very first day, helping us move in, even though they could hardly carry boxes that were as big as they were. I’m excited to see the plan God has for Carson! He is a great young man, and very tall… Ha ha ha!
It’s been sweet to take a rest and look back over the past 10 years to see all that has happened. I certainly can not overlook the support of my wonderful husband. He has sacrificed right along with the rest of us in support of the desire of my heart and more importantly God’s plan for us as a family! He is my partner for life!
I thank you all for not only for your support of A Child’s Eyes, but also for the many ways you have enriched our lives. I’m thankful for each one of you and thankful to God for these past ten years. Who knows where things will be in the next ten years, but I will strive for it to be as God desires. I hope that sharing our journey has encouraged you to trust God for all your needs! When things look easy, look to God…when things look hard, look to God…when things look unattainable, look to God!
With sincere thanks and gratitude,
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