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Help, my child won’t wear glasses!

As a parent or caregiver, you always want the absolute best for your kid. Their eye health should be no different. When it comes to your little one wearing glasses, it's only natural to be concerned about their comfort and willingness to wear their glasses consistently.

We all know that toddlers are notorious for their strong opinions and resistance to change. This makes the introduction of wearing glasses for the first time a potential challenge.

But fear not!

In this article, we'll guide you through the process of helping your child embrace their new glasses with confidence and style. We'll touch on areas such as why it's important to visit your child's eye doctor, what factors to consider when choosing frames for your child and strategies to encourage your child to wear their glasses every day.

child wearing glasses

Why Won't My Kid Wear Glasses?

"Help, my child won't wear glasses!"

This is something we hear quite often and is actually a common challenge among parents and kids alike.

Before we dive into solutions, it's important to understand why your child might be reluctant to wear their glasses in the first place.

Their very first pair of glasses may feel unfamiliar, uncomfortable or even a little bit scary. A child wearing glasses for the first time requires patience and understanding from both the child and caregiver.

Understanding your child's viewpoint

We all want our children to feel safe and comfortable. However, toddlers may feel a tad overwhelmed by this new accessory. Their perspective can help us approach the matter sensitively as we strive to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Here are a few common issues we have found when it comes to children not wanting to wear their glasses:

  • Unfamiliarity: Children are equally curious and wary of new things. Glasses are unfamiliar objects that they may not have encountered before, which may explain their reluctance.

  • Discomfort: Wearing glasses for the first time can feel uncomfortable or even painful, especially if they do not fit correctly. Younger children, such as toddlers, may not be able to communicate this message effectively, leading to their refusal to wear them.

  • Sensory sensitivity: Children often have heightened sensory experiences. The sensation of having glasses on their face (with frames touching the child's nose and ears) may be an overwhelming sensory overload.

  • Independence: Toddlers (and children) are in the process of asserting their independence. They may resist anything that you ask them to do, including wearing their glasses!

  • Peer influence: Children are observant and can be influenced by what their peers or older siblings do. If your child has been teased about their glasses, this may provide a further reason as to why they don't want to wear them.

  • Attention seeking: Toddlers often seek attention and refusing to wear their glasses can be a way to get a caregiver's attention.

  • Body image: While still young, children (even toddlers) have a basic sense of body image. They might be embarrassed or sensitive to changes in their appearance if they wear glasses.

  • Short attention spans: Kids have shorter attention spans in general. They may not fully understand the importance of wearing glasses all the time. It could be as simple as they just find it easier to take their glasses off!


How To Get Your Child To Wear Glasses

Now, you understand a little more about why your child may be reluctant to wear glasses. Let's take a closer look at a few practical strategies. These strategies will create a seamless transition and foster understanding and enthusiasm when it comes to getting your child to wear glasses for the first time.

Seven strategies for success

  1. Normalise the idea of glasses. Begin discussing how wearing glasses consistently is a positive thing. Explain how the "eye doctor" is there to help with your child's vision. Share stories about family and friends (or even their favourite cartoon character) who wear glasses. This can help your child understand that glasses are simply part of everyday life.

  2. Choose frames together. Allow your child to feel involved in the process and let them pick out their own frames. Visit an optician or check out frames online and focus on styles that your child loves. This approach not only empowers your child to be actively involved but also makes wearing glasses fun and exciting.

  3. Gradually introduce the concept of wearing glasses every day. Begin with short intervals, such as setting a 'rule' that glasses must be worn when watching TV. Then gradually extend the time periods. This method may help kids adapt to the feeling of glasses without becoming too overwhelmed.

  4. Celebrate the small wins! Commend your child every time they wear their glasses or implement a reward system. Small reward stickers or treats can transform this experience into a positive and encouraging one!

  5. Demonstrate that glasses are 'cool' and normal. If your child has older siblings, it's a great idea to get them on board too. Kids love to emulate the behaviour of those around them!

  6. Engage in play. During playtime, make glasses part of your child's imaginary world. Incorporate glasses into their dress-up box and read stories about characters that wear glasses.

  7. Ask for help: If your child continues to resist their glasses, it might be a good idea for a trip to the eye doctor's office for added assistance.

Additional advice

A few other useful tips include:

  • Pay attention to your child's eye health by recognising signs of excessive tearing, eye rubbing and/or changes in their vision.

  • Limit screen time and encourage outdoor activities to prevent digital eye strain.

  • Ensure your child goes for regular eye exams, prescription checks and checkups.

  • Emphasise the importance of UV protection to prevent long-term eye damage. Prescription sunglasses fitted for your child are an excellent choice to go with.

  • If your child partakes in a variety of sports such as swimming or cricket, ensure they have a pair of prescription swim goggles and/or safety eyewear.

  • It's wise to have more than one pair of your toddler's glasses on hand. Having extra or spare pairs can be helpful in case a pair is lost or damaged.

kid wearing glasses

What to consider when choosing frames for your child's glasses?

  1. Durability: Children can be active and sometimes rough with their belongings. Look for frames made from durable materials, such as lightweight plastic frames. Choose lenses that have a protective coating for added benefit.

  2. Comfort: Frames should fit well without causing discomfort or pressure. Lightweight and hypoallergenic materials (such as acetate) are often preferred. Check that the glasses sit straight and evenly on your child's face. Ensure that the glasses loop correctly behind the ears and fit well on your child's nose.

  3. Flexibility: Choose flexible frames and flexible hinges. This will make them less likely to break if accidentally bent or twisted.

  4. Adjustability: Frames with adjustable nose pads and temple arms allow for a customised fit, ensuring the glasses stay in place.

  5. Safety: Consider frames with rounded edges and no sharp parts to minimise the risk of injury during playtime.

  6. Style: Choose frames that your child loves and feels confident wearing. This can encourage them to embrace their glasses consistently.

How long does it take for kids to get used to their glasses?

The adjustment period for children getting used to wearing glasses is typically 2-3 weeks.

During this time, it's recommended to gradually increase the amount of wearing time until your child's eyes become accustomed to their new glasses. Remember, it takes approximately 2-3 weeks for the brain and eyes to adapt to these visual changes.


When Would My Child Need Glasses?

According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People, a UK vision impediment charity, around 22,000 children and young people in the UK live with visual problems and sight loss.

These statistics show just how important proper eye care and regular checkups are for our little ones.

Scheduling regular appointments with your child's eye doctor (optician) is important when it comes to safeguarding your child's vision. Opticians are able to check your child's eye health, detect early vision problems and assess if your child needs glasses.

Common vision problems in children are:

  1. Refractive errors: If your child has difficulty seeing clearly (i.e. blurred vision) at varying distances, glasses can correct nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia).

  2. Strabismus (crossed eyes): Misaligned eyes can be addressed with glasses featuring specialised lenses. This will help align your child's gaze for improved depth perception.

  3. Amblyopia (lazy eye): Glasses combined with other treatments, such as eye exercises, can stimulate a weaker eye, enhancing vision and supporting balanced eye development.

  4. Astigmatism: Irregular corneal shapes can be corrected with glasses equipped with cylindrical lenses, offering focused and distortion-free vision.

  5. Anisometropia: This happens when one eye sees things differently due to being more nearsighted, farsighted or having astigmatism. This results in blurred vision. Glasses are often able to correct this.

FAQs about kids wearing glasses
  • How often do my child's glasses need to be checked?

    If your child wears glasses, whether it be on a daily basis or only during certain activities (such as watching TV or reading), they need to have their eyes tested at least once a year. In some instances, if your child has a strong prescription, opticians may want bi-annual checkups.

  • Why are eye exams important for children?

    Regular eye exams check your child's visual development, visual acuity and the health of your child's internal structures in their eyes and surrounding muscles. A refractive test is done to determine if your child requires glasses.

Final Thoughts

You are now armed with the knowledge of why it's important to visit your child's eye doctor, what factors to consider when choosing frames for your child and the strategies to use to encourage your child to wear their glasses every day. Now, you are more than ready to tackle the challenges of getting your child to wear their glasses on a daily basis.

With a little understanding from their perspective, regularly checking in with your optician and instilling an encouraging attitude, your child's not-wearing-glasses days are soon to be over!

It's important to schedule regular eye exams for your children when they start wearing glasses as this will ensure that your child's vision continues to develop properly. Use Book An Eye Test's user-friendly directory platform to search for local opticians in your area and schedule your child's next appointment today!


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