Choosing Eyewear for Children

Mindy McCormick
by Mindy McCormick

Now that kids have been back in school, they may begin to notice vision problems they didn’t realize during the lazy days of summer. After bringing your child in for a comprehensive eye exam, you may face the decision of choosing your child’s first pair of eyewear. The tough part can be deciding what option to choose.

At the end of the day, if a child won’t wear his/her glasses, it’s money out the window. It’s important to choose eyewear that your child feels comfortable in, both the way they fit and the way they feel.

IMG_7512Things to consider when choosing eyewear for your child:

You want to consider your child’s prescription and the thickness of their lenses. The stronger the prescription, the smaller the frames should be to reduce peripheral distortion.

You’ll also want to consider proper bridge fit. How the frames sit on your child’s nose will impact whether or not they slide down or fit comfortably.

There are many temple styles to choose from with children’s frames. Toddlers and younger children may benefit from wrap-around styles that go around the head or styles that wrap around the ears, so the glasses don’t fall off.

Lifestyle is very important to consider when choosing eyewear. If your child plays sports, consider getting him/her a pair of prescription sports glasses. Regular street wear is not recommended for sports play, because the risk of injury is greater than if they weren’t wearing any eyewear. If your child spends a lot of time outside, consider going with photochromic (Transitions®) lenses or a secondary pair of prescription sunglasses.

At EyeCare Specialties, we offer a great children’s package. You can get a complete pair of children’s eyewear including the frames, lenses and any coatings for 50% off. Included in this offer is our Warranty Plus program; If your child breaks or loses their eyewear, you can replace them once for just 25% of the original cost.

The Frame Experts at EyeCare Specialties can help make sure that the eyewear you select fits properly and ensures the best vision for your child. Plus, our Frame Experts have some unique insight into what’s cool with the younger crowd.

Reading and Vision Therapy

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Did you know that 80% of what we learn in school comes from our vision? Much of that comes from how well we can read. Reading is fundamental to a child’s success in school and truly forms the foundation of our education.

At EyeCare Specialties Vision Therapy Program, we treat students who struggle with reading due to a vision disorder. We often find those students also have problems with other subjects like math, history, science, geography and technology. Our goal is to examine the student and determine if the child may be struggling with a vision disorder that is affecting their learning abilities.

There are over 20 different visual skills involved in the process of reading, but for teachers and parents looking for more information, the American Optometric Association (aoa.org) categorizes these skills in seven key areas: visual acuity, visual fixation, accommodation, binocular fusion, convergence, field of vision and form perception. Of those seven skills, only one is routinely covered in a basic eye screening done at the pediatrician’s office.

Visual acuity is the ability to see clearly. This is the skill the basic eye chart measures at the pediatrician’s or school nurse’s office. The test usually measures how clearly a child can see both close-up and at a distance of up to 20 feet. If there is a problem with seeing objects clearly, the student should be referred for a comprehensive exam with an optometrist.

Visual fixation is the ability to aim the eyes on fixed or moving objects. The ability to fixate vision requires split second timing in order for the eyes to transmit information immediately to the brain. Just a slight delay can cause comprehension and fluency problems which can be discouraging to the young learner.

Accommodation is the ability to refocus the eyes back and forth between different points of focus. In the classroom, this would mean being able to transition between focusing on the board in class to text on a desk. This extremely important during tests and other activities that require quick changes in focus.

Binocular fusion is the ability for both eyes to work together at the same time. When a child has eyes that fail to work together properly, one eye can overcompensate for the other, resulting in decreasing vision in the underutilized eye. A child with a binocular vision disorder may be found closing one eye when trying to read.

Convergence is the ability for both eyes to turn inward in order to focus on close up images. Because most school work is done at a close proximity, this is an important skill to have.

Field of vision is the entire picture that the eyes see. The ability to see out of the corner of one’s eye is important to the process of reading. Having good center vision and peripheral vision will help the child receive all vision cues that are important for learning.

Visual and form perception are links between the shapes of objects being seen and the brain’s interpretation of those shapes. When a child struggles with form perception, it can slow down the reading process and make it difficult for the child to increase reading fluency.

A comprehensive eye exam will discover if a student is struggling in any of those areas. Treatment could include corrective lenses, vision therapy or both.

Vision Therapy is a series of treatments and exercised designed to address any of the above situations. We will customize a course of treatment for each patient with a goal of increasing the student’s reading fluency, comprehension and vocabulary.

I have found that when a child’s vision problems are addressed, his/her confidence soars. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a child who previously struggled with reading and schoolwork, become motivated to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Information from aoa.org and education.com.

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