It can seem overwhelming to pick out our own glasses let alone help a child to do it. Since my daughter was 2 years old, she demanded picking out her own clothes or she wouldn’t wear them. So, how do you figure out which eyewear your child is willing to wear and lasts longer than the ride home?

Here are 9 items to consider:

1. Lens Thickness

The eyeglass prescription is always the primary consideration in choosing glasses. Before you start looking for frames, consult with our opticians about lens considerations. If the prescription calls for strong lenses that are likely to be thick, it is important to keep the frames as small as possible to reduce the lens thickness and minimize lens aberrations.

2. Fashion Forward

I examine more kids who want to wear glasses than not these days. Luckily, eyewear companies are paying attention to this and making fun children’s eyewear styles. Keep in mind that the real object is to get your child to wear their glasses. Extra enticement may be found in ultra-cool frames.

3. Plastic or Metal?

Children’s frames are made of either plastic or metal. In the past, plastic frames were a better choice for children because they were considered more durable and lighter in weight. However, manufacturers are making metal frames that incorporate these features as well. If your child has skin sensitivities, ask us for hypoallergenic materials.

4. Proper Bridge Fit

One of the toughest parts about choosing frames for young children is that their noses are not fully developed, so they don’t have a bridge to prevent plastic frames from sliding down. Most manufacturers recognize this difficulty with plastic frames and make their bridges to fit small noses. Metal frames are made with adjustable nose pads, so they fit everyone’s bridge. Our experienced opticians are good resources for determining if a frame fits.

5. The Right Temple Style

Temples that wrap all the way around the back of the ear help keep glasses from sliding down or dropping off a child’s face completely. These wraparound temples are called "cable temples". Another option is a strap that goes around the head. Spring hinges allow the temples to flex outward, away from the frames which can help prevent the need for frequent adjustments and costly repairs. They also come in handy if the child falls asleep with the glasses on or just has a rough play day.

6. Lens Material

Children’s lenses should be made of polycarbonate or Trivex. These materials are the most impact-resistant, lightest in weight and provide the best protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays. Photofusion or Transition lenses turn dark when outside and become light inside. This can provide added UV protection and comfort for light sensitivity with the added convenience of not having to switch to sunglasses.

7. Sports Eyewear

Regular eyeglass frames do not provide enough protection from large objects such as balls and flying elbows. So if your kid is involved in sports, a proper sport eyewear with polycarbonate lenses will provide the best protection against eye injury. The fit is important to ensure safety. So ask our experienced opticians and make sure the vertical opening is large enough to avoid damage to the eyeball globe if there is impact.

8. Warranties

Children’s frames and lenses should have a warranty in case of damage. Katmai Eye and Vision Center offers a free one-year warranty on all our eyewear frames and lenses.

9. Backup Pair

Because children can be tough on their eyewear, it’s always a good idea to purchase a second pair of eyeglasses for them. This especially is true if your child has a strong prescription and cannot function without his or her glasses.

Ask our optician about a second pair discount if purchased at the same time.