Around the age of 25, I became the last remaining person in my family, immediate and somewhat extended, to get glasses. My husband has had glasses since he was about 10, along with lots of family members as well. It was probably inevitable that our child would need them one day. But, I was caught off guard at how early it was.
We were at our daughter’s routine three-year-old well visit when we were asked if we wanted to have an additional eye exam to scan her eyes using a separate device. We said yes given our family history with eyesight issues.
The nurse brought in an iPhone and quickly took a picture of her eyes. Yes, an iPhone app used by a doctor’s office can tell you if your kid may need glasses! Technology is crazy cool!
When the doctor came in, she informed us that the scan showed that our daughter may need glasses and referred us to a pediatric ophthalmologist, which is actually covered by medical insurance.
We went to that appointment and found out our daughter had monocular esotropia of her left eye, or what some call a “lazy eye.” In addition, she was farsighted. We found out that farsightedness is relatively normal for kids, but add in the esotropia and she needed some glasses to make everything clearer for her and train her eye to look out more often. If left untreated, esotropia can cause double vision, loss of depth perception, and headaches. I was glad we followed up with the ophthalmologist!
Looking back, I remember several times thinking her left eye turned in a bit sometimes. And she had shown me that she could make her eyes turn in on purpose, but I totally thought it was normal weird kid stuff.
After our appointment, we took some time to research kids’ frames and found a good fit. We found a great deal on a complete pair for her at Target, and let her pick out the color. She was very excited. We also called on my in-laws to see what they could help with, as they both work in the eyeglasses manufacturing industry. It was meant to be! Grandma knows how to find the best styles, too.
After two and a half years of experience, I have a few tips for kids and glasses:
1. Get two pairs of glasses
You’ll want at least two pairs of glasses. Especially when your child is really little. You don’t have time to be looking for glasses every morning. We once couldn’t find a pair for like three weeks! They had fallen into the lost wasteland behind the couch.
2. Get the cool carrying case
We found some really cute carrying cases that even have a strap, so they’re like a purse. My daughter loved taking it to daycare and using it at nap time. And really, she loved carrying it most anywhere.
3. Don’t fret if your child loses their glasses
It’s going to happen. Be prepared. Our daughter threw hers in the trash at daycare one day and we never recovered them. She told me she did it because she didn’t want them anymore. I tried to gently explain that glasses cost money and we can’t throw them out, but that it was okay. And, going back to point number one, that’s why we had a backup pair.
4. Teach your child early on how to care for their glasses
Our daughter knows how to clean her glasses herself now, and knows the few locations in the house where she can place them. We created a routine early on to emphasize this so her glasses won’t be stepped on or lost easily.
5. Let your child know why they need glasses, and that it’s normal
Luckily our daughter was at the age where most kids think glasses are cool. I’m sure as she gets older it’s possible she will get made fun of for wearing them. But we are trying to remind her why she needs them, and that her vision is important. It helps that her dad and I both have them too!
So far, having a kid in glasses has been relatively easy. I’m sure it won’t always be this way, and we are thankful her vision is actually easily fixed with them.