Home schooling is coming to an end now that it’s summer (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!) and our kids are hopefully going to get a much needed tech break and spend sometime biking outdoors. We’ve all felt the additional strain on our eyes (and our grocery budget) this spring, but kids are extra susceptible. As parents we often don’t think about our kids needing glasses until they’ve already been needing them for a while. More than a few mamas wait until the teacher or school nurse calls because our kiddo can’t see even from the front row. Are their eyes really that bad or is it just work avoidance? Likely they need a check-up with an eye care professional. Poor eyesight affects more than we give it credit for during childhood. It affects the ability to read and do well in school, sure, but it also dampers coordination for playing sports, and ultimately it lessens children’s overall confidence.
We know it sounds really dramatic, but going to the eye doctor has more benefits then just re-establishing our throne of the world’s best mama. Galo Andrade, NYC based Director of Optical Services at Stahl Eyecare Experts told us, “It’s very important to go for an in person checkup with a Pediatric Ophthalmologist or Pediatric Optometrist. They can check not just vision, but everything going on behind the eye to make sure the eye health is where it should be. Kids need a regular eye exam one time per year, as vision can change quickly as they are growing.” Eye doctors can bring attention to various health concerns that even the most diligent parents wouldn’t be able to catch. Andrade says that, “The sooner the better, when it comes to recognizing eyesight issues. It’s not uncommon for a child who is very nearsighted to become introverted as their world consists of all close-up things (like computers, iPads, etc), and they avoid far away things like playing with friends and playing sports. A simple eye exam does no harm and can largely affect their lives as young adults.”
Buying online is always the easiest way to shop, and may be less intimidating than going to a fancy neighborhood optical, but keep in mind that kids can’t wear adult glasses. Most kids frames are much more narrow throughout and have shorter arms to hit the correct spot behind the ear. Another thing that’s equally important is getting the right PD or pupillary distance, something best measured in person. Andrade says, “When a PD is off, either vertically or horizontally, it can cause unnecessary strain to the eye. If you’re buying kids frames online, you can take them to your local optical to get checked, for a fee, to make sure all is as it should be. Having that check done in person, while the kids are wearing the frames, can determine if you got exactly what you needed. If not, they can recommend the fix you need from the online company.”
Try as we might, we mamas don’t necessarily know exactly what to look for online. If going to buy glasses in person right now isn’t an option, you can shop for frames on large retailer websites (like Amazon) and then bring the frames into your local store for the custom lenses. Warby Parker now offers kids frames on their site, so when shopping for yourself you can also get the mini-version for your kiddos. Also, the Fitz Frame app offers a fun and easy shopping experience. Their app measures kids faces down to the last millimeter and allows them to try on the glasses virtually. The custom frames are 3D printed and can be engraved with names, numbers, or something else personal.
With so many choices, what do we choose? And even more to the point, how the hell do we get them to wear them once we’ve found the right fit? “Involving the LOs in the shopping process, whether online or in person, is the best bet”, Andrade notes from years of experience with kids, “Make eyewear fun for your kids! Let them pick the frame so they will be more excited/inclined to wear their glasses. Let them pick a fun color or print. Kids also love glasses that come with a colorful case and even a fun eyeglass cloth (for cleaning). It’s the little things that get kids excited to wear glasses. Remind them that it’s cool to wear glasses, even Superman wears them!”
“Kids frames don’t need to be expensive to do the trick. It’s the lens quality that is most important”, Andrade reminds us. After all we want them to see as best they can (and learn, and read)! Check out the best sites to shop for frames and glasses for kids. Our kiddos will be happy with their fun eyewear choices, while we’ll feel good in being proactive to help correct their visual needs.
Best Glasses For Babies & Toddlers
Miraflex makes Italian designed incredibly durable glasses for toddlers that are free of metal parts and provide safe and secure vision support for babies and toddlers. Miraflex offers 15 sizes and 32 colors with matching elastic bands to keep the perfect fit glasses securely in place. Miraflex’s patented plastic polymer technology created unbreakable kids glasses frames designed to withstand the challenges of childhood and reducing any risk for trauma to the face or eye. Putting glasses on babies and toddlers we’re asking for something crazy to happen, but Miraflex has stepped in and prevented much of what our mama minds could come up with.
One reviewer noted, “Our little guy is so active and fun loving that we know his glasses have to accommodate that. They have to be lightweight to not bend his ears and stay on his nose. They have to be flexible to withstand all his tugging, play, and occasionally stepping on them. They have to have a band at the back to keep them from getting lost. We love Miraflex frames for all of these reasons!”
Dilli Dalli’s pediatric eyewear collection offers durability, comfort, and style so that even our littlest ones look adorable in their glasses. The innovative IntelliFlex technology used by Dilli Dalli allows glasses to flex both vertically and horizontally so when our LOs twist them off their faces, they spring back into shape. This patented technology creates less need for replacement temples and still offers a soft touch for babies’ sensitive skin.
Eyeglasses.com offers a plethora of name brand glasses at discounted prices, however we love their extensive information on how to buy frames. Everything is covered from measuring to face shape, even specific features of eyeglasses. Reviewers have consistently praised their helpful service and approach to selling glasses online. “Eyeglasses.com educates customers so they understand what they need. I am pleased with the approach, because I can make an informed purchase,” commented one reviewer. All of us mamas are just doing the best we can. It’s nice to know our judgements will be educated and supported by our chosen retailer, too!
Best Kids Glasses Online
LensCrafters is a well known one stop shop for glasses for everyone, that has been in our local neighborhoods for years. Their in-store eye exam technology is one of their most prized accomplishments. Both online or in person, LensCrafters kids selection offers a variety of name brands including Vogue, Ray-Ban Jr, Polo and Oakley Youth.
With so many choices it’s easy to become overwhelmed, however LensCrafters’ website offers the ability to narrow down the frame selection by the shape of a child’s face, the shape of the frame, price, and color, making the selection process a little more fun and manageable. It’s like an online department store experience without lugging bags, a stroller, and melting down kids. Giving kids the power to click on their color choice or frame shape will make wearing the glasses more desirable which gives us hope they’ll actually want to wear them.
Newcomer Fitz Frames makes custom, 3D printed glasses for kids. The process is both simple and fun. Download the mobile app (you’ll need a newer phone), which takes precise measurements of our kiddos face then 3D prints durable eyeglasses in whatever style and colors the kiddos choose. The glasses are entirely free of metal and screws, making them more safe, but when the temples pop out, they can simply be popped right back in, making them durable too.
Our favorite feature is the augmented-reality virtual-try on which can make an otherwise boring activity a fun family fashion show. Kids can see what they’ll really look like in their selection before committing. There is nothing worse than hearing, “I hate it!” after we have already spent the money on something they desperately wanted. Fitz is also supporting the healthcare community and encouraging professionals to apply for free eyewear through this link — get them shipped to their hospital or home.
Best Designer Kids Glasses
Warby Parker, which started in 2010 by four friends in business school, is known for stylish glasses that eliminates the middleman making the glasses buying process streamlined and simple. It’s no surprise that Warby Parker has expanded to kids glasses that are a scaled down version of their adult frames. The Warby Parker kids site says, “We shrank Percey, Wilkie, Durand, Louise, Welty, and Daisy into sizes suitable for kids ages 4 and up in a kaleidoscope of beloved hues: vibrant crystals, classic tortoises, and versatile two-tones.”
Their super cute, stylish frames are available in 12 styles and two sizes, Jr. Jr. for kids ages 4-8, and Jr. (extra-narrow and larger) for older kids. Our favorite thing about Warby Parker is their automatic giveback through Warby Parker’s Pupils Project. For every pair of kid’s glasses purchased, one is donated to a kid in need.
Known as the epitome of classic aviator sunglasses (available for kids as well), Ray-Ban’s kids glasses offer the same classic style we would expect, at affordable pricing. Ray-Ban’s glasses for kids come in two different sizing options, ages 4-8 and 8-12, to ensure the proper fit on young children’s faces and in materials like titanium and carbon making them lightweight. Their website offers over 40 options for kids frames, each with different shapes, colors, and materials that will really show off their personality. We love that many of their popular adult styles are now available for kids.
One reviewer praised the popular brand by saying, “Perfect! Great price, great product, sturdy. Has helped my son gain vision with his amblyopia. He’s gone from 200/20 to 50/20. Your product is changing lives. Thank you.” We couldn’t ask for anything more for our kiddos!
Best Frames Only for Kids Glasses
Sometimes our kiddos are just too rough to be spending a lot on frames when they’re just destroying them every few months. Aqwano’s Flexible Frames offer a budget friendly alternative when we need it fast. Available in two shapes, oval for kids ages 5-12 and rectangular for kids ages 3-8, and complete with an elastic strap to prevent them from falling off, these frames are win win. The clear lens can be easily swapped out for your kiddos prescription ones when they’re the only thing left standing from the old pair.
One mama commented, “These frames are a lifesaver my 6 year old then who just turned 7, had broken his glasses in school and he needed new ones fast. So I brought these paid for the lenses to be cut smaller into them and he has dropped them, sat on them, and lost them somewhere under books and stuff but they have maintained their shape.”
Kids blue light glasses are all the rage and we mamas rush to protect their young eyes from too much screen time. We love that AIEYEZO Kids Blue Light Blocking Silicone Flexible Square Eyeglasses Frames come in a two pack. This is great for leaving one pair at home and one at school (when that’s a thing again) or leaving one pair blue light and turning one pair into prescription glasses at an affordable frame price. Almost any pair of frames can be turned into prescription glasses when brought to your local eye care specialist, and these cute and colorful combinations are no exception with the added bonus of a second pair.
One reviewer notes, “My son doesn’t ever put anything away, so I find these glasses on the floor by his gaming chair regularly (translation…I’ve stepped on them). They’re durable, effective, and super cute. He was actually excited to wear them.”
If you didn’t get the memo that clear was cool, Wow Cool Kids’ Square Clear Lens Frames for Teens are a perfect and affordable option. Designed to fit children ages 5-12, the durable and lightweight acetate frames can be paired with any prescription lens. The choice of pink, purple, green, or grey frames in a tie-dye print is sure to be a favorite for girls and boys alike. For this price, it’s easy enough to invest in a few color options so that when they’re over purple before their prescription is up, it’s an easy compromise. Complete with spring hinges and a nose pad sized right for kids, these frames will be both safe and comfortable.
One reviewer says, “I’m pleased that the lens for my daughter’s old glasses fit these frames. They are nice and durable and very fashionable, she loves them and I love them. I will be buying again!”
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