As school begins, many parents, in addition to dealing with the stresses of homework and running to activities, may begin to worry about their child’s eyesight. As a parent of two children who needed glasses in early elementary, I know how surprising and even scary it is to think that your child might need to wear eye frames. With causes of decreasing clarity in childhood vision ranging from genetics to environmental factors like increased “screen time” (as suggested in Family Health Guide’s online article, Are Eyesight Problems Genetic?), what can be certain only is that good eyesight is an imperative as each child strives to succeed. Here are the important things to remember when faced with the possibility that your child may need a first pair of glasses — and some tips on how to get the right ones.
Detecting Vision Problems
As detailed in a very informative article focusing on vision care for kids, Does Your Child Need Glasses?, there are clear warning signs you can look for if you are worried that your child is struggling with vision. Such signs include, but are not limited to, frequent headaches, squinting, and even difficulty concentrating and may suggest the presence of common childhood conditions such as near-sightedness (myopia), lazy eye (amblyopia) or even being cross-eyed (strabismus). While the above link can provide a good overview of these, the initial thing to focus on is that a problem with your child’s vision may exist.
You are Not Alone: The Focus on Sight
Even if you fail to discern clues that may be present in your child’s behaviors, it is comforting to know there is back up as well. Most schools are state mandated to do eye testing during preliminary school years and any problems most likely will be detected during these screenings or during your child’s yearly well visit at the pediatrician. Additionally, teachers are always on the look out for students who may be struggling to see.
Glasses Are Common Among School Aged Children
If you are worried your child will be viewed by his or her peers as different because of their glasses, don’t panic. According to sources like Vision Problems of School Children at Allaboutvision.com, the need for glasses among young children is actually quite common, with as many as a quarter of school-age kids having sight issues. Sure enough, around the time my daughter got her glasses, I noted that other children her age were wearing them as well. In the few years that followed, the numbers increased dramatically. In fact, some classmates even expressed jealousy as more and more frames speckled the landscape.
Early Intervention Is a Blessing When It Comes to Poor Vision
Keep in mind that if your child is struggling with poor vision at an early age, helping him or her see better will truly increase their chances of doing well in school and elsewhere. The Healthy Schools Campaign suggests that an improvement in a child’s vision through glasses will make them more successful in many areas of their life. This, through my own experiences and others I’ve witnessed, includes learning, sports, sociability, personality and even confidence. Although I was concerned when my daughter’s first grade teacher recommended I have Maddie tested for glasses, and even more dismayed when the school nurse called me to say that my son failed his second grade eye test, I quickly realized that my children were fortunate to have been screened for eye problems early on — and that failing to detect a problem with their vision could have really hindered them in many ways.
Prescription Glasses Are Not a Prison Sentence
Just because your child wears glasses, it does not mean that their prescription will continue to become stronger and stronger. For some, eyes can rather quickly progress to worsening states, but for others, a prescription may remain the same for years and can even improve, as evidenced in WebMD’s article Signs of Vision Problems in Young Kids. However, even if your child experiences the need for stronger prescriptions in the future, this doesn’t mean he or she will be wearing glasses forever. It also doesn’t mean that they will have any disadvantages because of their prescription or because they wear glasses. Remember that in this modern world, glasses are on trend, many and varied and contact lenses and even lasik eye surgery are options for the future of every child.
Eye Doctors Are Close at Hand and Easy to Access
A good doctor will provide you with the tools you will need as your child grows, so be diligent as you choose and stick with a doctor that leaves you and your child feeling comfortable. The good news is that there are plenty of eye doctors in each community and many are likely enthusiastic when it comes to young patients. Get recommendations from family, friends and neighbors if you don’t already have an eye care professional. As well, the Internet can be a good resource when looking for a doctor that is top rated and close by. Try EyeDoctorGuide.com as a resource and always look for a doctor that is Board Certified.
Kids Love Wearing Glasses
The final thought I’d like to leave you with is that kids really love glasses. I remember when I used to be in school and children who wore glasses got teased or were considered “geeks.” This is not the case today, I have found to my relief. I think every parent worries about their child when they need glasses because we fear that they will feel impaired. Well rest assured that styles today are quite innovative and “cool” and there are many kids who even wear fake glasses, for envy of their friends that are donning the latest in visual fashion. My best advice when choosing frames: let your child choose their own – ones that express their unique personality. The result can be a child that is very happy with who they are and how they look.