Your child may not understand that he needs to wear glasses to help him see better. Some children need glasses for reading and homework, others need glasses to see at a distance, and some children need to wear glasses all the time.
Wearing glasses can make your child feel different. He may worry that the other kids will tease him. He may think that he won't be able to play sports or that the glasses look ugly.
Glasses may feel uncomfortable or heavy at first. Your child may “forget” to put them on or “forget” to take them to school.
Here are some ideas to help your child adjust to wearing glasses.
Get the right glasses.
Ask your child’s eye care provider to explain to your child why he needs glasses, and when your child should wear them.
Let your child help pick out frames that he likes. Glasses should fit well, be comfortable, and provide clear vision. Do not buy large or adult frames for a child to grow into. Loose glasses will start to slide down your child’s nose. Glasses that are too tight can hurt behind the ears. If the frames become bent or you notice redness or sore patches on your child’s nose or behind his ears, have the glasses adjusted. The place where you get the glasses will adjust them at no charge.
Children's lenses should be made of polycarbonate (shatter proof material with built in UV protection from the sun’s harmful rays.) It is the safest material and is lighter weight than other lenses. If your child plays sports, sports goggles can help prevent eye injury.
Check screws and other fittings regularly to make sure the glasses are secure. Do not try to adjust the glasses yourself, as they may break. Keep your child’s glasses clean.
Make wearing glasses enjoyable.
Start your child off by having him wear the glasses for short periods of time. It helps to link wearing glasses to something your child enjoys, such as watching a favorite video. Find picture books that show children wearing glasses.
If teasing or bullying is a problem from schoolmates, talk with your child about how to deal with the teasing. Often if your child ignores the teasing, it stops. Help your child practice ways to respond to bullying. Talk with his teacher about it.
Point out how good the glasses look on your child and ways in which the glasses will help him. The attitude of parents and grandparents can influence a child more than most people think. For a very young child, "being just like Daddy" may be what counts.
Many children are concerned that they look weird, or that everyone is looking at them when they first get glasses. Point out sports figures, celebrities, or musicians who wear glasses. Make glasses seem "cool" for your child.
Make it routine.
Make the glasses a part of your child's daily routine. Put them on in the morning as your child is getting dressed and take them off before naps and bedtime. Let teachers know when your child should wear glasses.
Keep discipline calm and matter-of-fact.
Glasses help your child see. If your child takes his glasses off, put them back on in a firm but loving manner. Praise your child for remembering to wear his glasses. Sometimes you just need to insist that your child wear the glasses. Use time-out as a form of discipline if your child will not wear glasses. Contact your child’s eye care provider if he continues to refuse to wear glasses.
Teach your child how to care for glasses.
Once your child is old enough to help care for his glasses, teach him to put his glasses in a case when not wearing them. Teach older children to clean lenses with a special lens cloth.