.@TeddyOutReady: Does My Child Need Glasses?

Friday, March 12, 2021

Does My Child Need Glasses?


Is your child having problems with their eyesight? It’s possible that they may need glasses. 

Below is a guide on how to tell if your kid needs to wear glasses.

Why do some kids need glasses?
 
Most people that need glasses are usually either far-sighted or short-sighted. Far-sightedness (hyperopia) involves not being able to clearly see objects that are close, while short-sightedness (myopia) involves not being able to clearly see objects that are far away.
 
Eyesight problems in kids are almost always genetic. Conditions such as astigmatism (irregularly shaped eyes) are the most common causes - problems with vision may occur as young as 4 or 5 or may not occur until teenage years.
 
Either way, there’s usually nothing you can do to prevent such a condition. It’s not because your child has been watching too much TV or playing too many video games.

Signs your child may need glasses

Some children will tell you if they’re having trouble seeing things. Others may not mention it at all - if it is very gradual or something they’ve had since birth, they may not even notice.

There are a few ways in which you can tell that a child may need glasses. These include:
  • Squinting a lot - especially when looking at things close up or far away. 
  • Sitting close to the TV in order to see it more clearly. 
  • Holding a book close to their face. 
  • Tilting their head or covering one eye in order to see more clearly (this is sometimes a symptom of amblyopia). 
  • Complaining about eye pain or headaches. 
  • Experiencing difficulties with learning.

Other vision problems to be wary of

Not all vision problems can be fixed with glasses. If there are other symptoms such as itchiness, burning pain or redness, it could be worth seeing a doctor.

Conjunctivitis is the most common eye condition that children suffer from. It often results in itchiness, redness, discharge and pain. It is rarely ever a serious condition - antibiotic eye drops may be prescribed which could help clear it up.

Other causes of vision loss could range from type 1 diabetes to an infection. It’s best to always see a doctor to get an official diagnosis.

Getting an eye test

The best way to diagnose whether your child needs glasses is to get an eye test.

An eye test will tell you whether or not your child has reduced vision - and, if so, which prescription lenses they need. This test should ideally be carried out by a professional optician. You’ll usually have to book it in advance as there may already be tests lined up.

Free eye tests are periodically carried out by some schools. You will likely be told if your child gets a test and needs corrective vision.

If your child’s school doesn’t provide a free eye test or you don’t want to wait, there may still be other ways to get free or discounted eye tests. Some opticians in some states may not charge anything for kids or there may be organizations that can help. There are also free eye tests that you can download online, but these are generally not as reliable.

Even if you can’t get a free eye test, such tests are generally quite cheap. It could be worth shopping around to compare prices.

Where to buy glasses

If a test reveals that your child needs glasses, you can choose to order glasses there and then at that optician - or you can try shopping around for frames elsewhere.

Some opticians may offer discounts for kids or may offer a free pair of glasses to kids. If you yourself need glasses, you may even find that some opticians offer family discounts. By doing your research into different opticians, you can identify the best deals so that you can save money on a pair.

Online stores can have a great selection and can sometimes have cheaper prices than physical stores. Glasses are usually easy to order on these sites and you may be able to pay for extras such as special lens coatings. The disadvantage of these stores is that you can’t try on frames - which some kids may enjoy doing.

You should let your kids choose a frame they want. More funky and unusual frames can be more expensive (particularly from designer brands). Your child may be happy with a basic frame, however some kids may not be happy with these designs, in which case you may have to both find a compromise.

Extras such as special lens coatings will cost more. These include scratch-resistant coatings and anti-reflective coatings. Most opticians are able to provide these lens coatings.

My child doesn’t want to wear glasses!

Not all kids want to wear glasses. Some kids may find them uncomfortable or annoying, while older kids may not want to wear them in fear of looking ‘nerdy’.

You will need to find a way of overcoming this aversion to glasses. If your child refuses to wear glasses, it could have a negative impact on their education and day-to-day life. The strain of having to squint all the time could also make their vision deteriorate further and they may suffer from frequent headaches and fatigue. All in all, you need to encourage them to wear their glasses.

Some ways of doing this could include: 
  • Letting your child pick the frame they want 
  • Building their confidence 
  • Informing staff at school that they need to wear their glasses 
  • Drawing their attention to celebrities and cool pop culture figures that wear glasses 
  • Look into alternatives such as contact lenses (usually only an option for children older than 11)
  • Discussing why they don’t want to wear them and finding a solution together

Encouraging your child to look after their glasses


Some kids like to play rough. Other kids can be forgetful. This can lead to glasses getting damaged or lost - which can lead to expensive replacements.

It’s important to teach your kids to be responsible with their glasses so that you’re not having to spend unnecessary money on repairs or replacements. A few ways to teach your kids to be responsible with their specs could include: 
  • Teaching kids to take glasses off when doing physical activities 
  • Teaching kids to put glasses in their case when not wearing them 
  • Teaching kids to store glasses in a safe place such as a bag or pocket rather than leaving them on any surface 
  • Warning kids not to make DIY repairs such as using glue 
  • Teaching kids to clean glasses with a cloth
Buying a spare pair is often recommended when buying glasses for kids. This ensures that if your child loses their glasses, they have another pair to fall back on.

Monitoring your child’s vision

Prescriptions can change over time - your child’s vision may gradually get worse. Vision can sometimes get better but this is much rarer.

Taking your child for an eye test every year or every couple years can allow you to check for any changes in vision. This can allow your child’s prescription to be updated if necessary. An optician will usually remind you as to when an eye test is due. You can get an eye test earlier if you think your child’s vision has got worse within a year.

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