Choosing Children’s Frames

August 2017
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Good vision is critical to a child’s early educational, functional, and social development. Parents and caregivers should be aware that it is essential to address the child’s visual needs as early as possible. Healthy sight can contribute to a healthy start in life.

The eyes continue to develop during childhood. The majority of children at birth are long-sighted whcih, if within normal limits, will correct itself as the child matures. However, if a refractive error is not properly corrected, there is a risk of permanently poor vision.

Children’s eyes, as well as their visual needs, differ from those of adults in a number of important ways. A child’s immature visual system is more prone to irreversible damage. It is therefore important to have your child regularly assessed by a Canon Street optometrist.

The main childhood eye problems relate to improper development of the visual system. Conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (squint) and uncorrected refractive error (short sightedness [myopia], long sightedness and astigmatism) are the most common. They are also all related. If a child has a squint, or if one eye has a significantly different refractive from the other, this will lead, if uncorrected, to a lazy eye. The less dominant eye is effectively “switched off” and does not develop properly. The child accommodates to use the eye which is least long-sighted which leaves the other eye with reduced visual acuity.

A child’s visual system develops over the first few years of their life. Amblyopia is best treated before the age of four but continued improvement can be made up to the age of seven; after this critical period perfect vision cannot be achieved. Amblyopia and squints are evident by the age of four and may be detected by the parent, health visitor or a teacher, but if they are not picked up and if a child has an uncorrected refractive error it will impact on the child’s ability to perform well at school. It may also hinder the child in later life to enter certain professions where good eyesight is a prime requirement.

Things to look out for:

  • Headaches
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Shutting one eye when reading
  • Burning or itchy eyes
  • Poor concentration
  • Losing place when copying
  • Getting tired after close work
  • Avoiding close work
  • Reversing letters or ommitting short words

All of our optometrists are experienced with children’s vision – if you have any doubts about your child’s vision it would be worth making a suitable appointment for an examination. You may be eligible for the Enable 15 years and under Subsidy.

When it comes to choosing the right frame, our friendly staff are fully trained at choosing the right fit for your child. How the frame fits is the most important thing – the temple width, bridge fit (to ensure no sneak peeks over the top of the frame), and of course, the child has to like them or they’ll be less inclined to wear them.

A dispensing optician can ensure children’s spectacles fit properly, look great and provide the best vision possible and there’s a wide variety of attractive children’s frames available to choose from. Many children, especially those who participate in a sport or those entering their teenage years can also opt to wear contact lenses. Children are much more likely to injure their eyes when compared with adults. A dispensing optician will consider impact resistant lenses when providing spectacles to children. Plastic lenses are most commonly prescribed, although in rare circumstances can still break. Trivex and polycarbonate lenses are tougher and more impact resistant than standard plastic lenses, they also inherently offer higher UV protection and are therefore strongly recommended.

Let us help you and your child find the perfect fit for them!


Clare Coventry

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