• Chronicles of Mom Life

How to Choose the Best Glasses for Children

You were referred to an eye doctor for your little one because the pediatrician noticed some irregularities on their eye screening.


Maybe there was an eye exam at school, and you received a letter home saying your child needs an eye exam.


You take your child to the optometrist, and you’re told they need glasses.


After a full exhausting eye exam and with a now tired a fussy child, you’re shuffled into another area of the office with walls of glasses. You’re told to pick out what you like. Overwhelmed, you put a few pairs on your child, but they’re tired and want to go home.



You quickly grab a pair, your child likes the color, and the employee at the optical shop tells you those look great.


You check out, spend hundreds of dollars, and go home to worry about the blur of an appointment you just had.


Don’t worry, this happened to all of us!


The problem many parents find is the glasses won’t stay on once the prescription lenses are put in.


That is most commonly because the glasses are much too big!


So the major question is: How to Choose the Best Glasses for Children?


This list is not from a medical professional and is not to be taken as medical advice. Please make sure to consult your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist for a medical exam and your proper glasses prescription. If you have any medical concerns or concerns with your child's glasses, please consult a medical professional.


Why can’t I find glasses to fit my child in an Optical Shop?


Optical shops are stocked with specific brands, sizes, and colors they decide to have in the store to try on and sell. Since there are more adults in glasses, most optical shops carry mostly adult frames.


The tiny selection of children’s frames is so minimal, often there is not a pair that will fit every child properly.


When picking out frames for my daughter, who was 3 when she needed her first pair of glasses, the Optical Shop only had 1 pair of baby frames, 3 frames for kids, and the rest of the frames were for adults. Most of the frames for children were the same size as adult frames or for kids over the age of 10.


How do I know what size my child’s glasses are?


Typically, frames are marked with the size on the inside of one of the arms of the frames. They will show as XX-XX-XXX, for example 41-18-122.


The first number is the lens width, the second number is the bridge width, and the third number is the temple length.


What size does my child need?


Glasses are not one size fits all.


At 3 years old, my daughter was put in size 46mm (lens width) glasses. I later found out, size 46mm is typically for ages 10 and up.


We found the best size for the lens width for her is 41mm.


Fitting your child for frames is not easy, but the best way to determine what size to put them in is to take a photo with the glasses on about 5ft away. This distance will allow for the best image of the glasses without distorting size too much. The closer you take the photo, the larger and more distorted the frames will look.


The frames should not extend out past their face and their eyes should be closer to the center of the lens. If their eyes are too close to the top or side of the lens, they could start to look over the top of their glasses.


What is a PD (Pupillary Distance)?


Before you order frames, you will need your child’s PD, or pupillary distance.


According to All About Vision, “Pupillary distance (PD) is the distance between the pupils of your two eyes. It is an essential measurement when buying a new pair of eyeglasses or prescription sunglasses.” They also go on to explain, “PD is measured in millimeters (mm).”


This measurement is important, so your child’s eyes are aligned with the optical center.


You can have your child’s PD measurement taken at your local Optical Shop or you can measure yourself at home using a ruler or smartphone app. Unlike your child’s prescription, your local Optical Shop is not required to provide you with their PD.



Where can I find glasses for my child?


By going into your local Optical Shop, you’re able to check the sizes and have your child try the frames on. This is wonderful if you have a local Optical Shop who carries children’s frames.


When searching for frames for my daughter, I realized the frames we were sold were much too large. I noticed most of my local Optical Shops did not carry frames that would fit her.


This helped me decide to shop for frames online.


There are so many online stores to purchase frames and you can go directly through the company who makes the frame. I even noticed the frames tend to be cheaper online because the local Optical Shops mark up frames to make a profit.


My husband was able to buy his Ray Ban frames directly through Ray Ban for about half the price the local Optical Shop was going to charge him for the exact same frame. He was able to order the frames and had our Optical Shop fill his frames with his prescription lenses. It sped up the process as well because they did not have to order his frames first.


What are some children’s brands you can buy online?


This is a great question and there are so many wonderful brands to choose from. It is best to choose the brand that is best for your child.


I have included pros and cons to many of the most popular children’s brands you can purchase from online.


I am not an affiliate of these brands. These recommendations come from personal experience or from others I have spoke to who have personal experience.


1. Kid’s Bright Eyes (KBE)


I’m a little biased because our daughter loves her KBE frames and lenses.

Check them Out!


Pros:

Flexible Durable frames

KBE can fill the frames with prescription lenses

Owner is responsive and very helpful

Low prices


Cons:

Can break if stepped on

Styles only in certain sizes


2. Tomato


Tomato brand is one of the top brands for flexible kid frames.

Check them Out!


Pros:

Flexible frames with excellent elasticity

Frame sizes starting from birth

Adjustable temples and nose pads

Standard head strap


Cons:

Do not fill prescription lenses


3. Dilli Dalli


Check them Out!


Pros:

Flexible frames

IntelliFlex hinge

Breakaway safety strap

Frame size starting at 34mm


Cons:

Do not fill prescription lenses

Prices in the hundreds per frame


4. Picklez


Check them Out!


Pros:

Plastic flexible frame

Spring hinge

Can fill the frames with prescription lenses

Low prices


Cons:

Temples are not as durable


5. Nano Vista


I wanted to include Nano Vista even though you cannot purchase online because they have a great selection and their glasses are some of the best frames for babies.

Check them Out!


Pros:

Flexible and indestructible frames

Frame sizes starting at birth

Flexible hinges


Cons:

Cannot purchase online

You must find a store near you


6. Zoobug


Check them Out!


Pros:

High optical quality, but stylish

Rubber frames

Head strap and earlocks available


Cons:

Small selection

Sizes for ages 3 and up


7. Solo Bambini


Check them Out!


Pros:

Frame sizes starting from birth

Premie sizes available

No screws or metal parts

Sport strap available for all sizes

Ideal to wear with a helmet

Can fill the frames with prescription lenses


Cons:

All frames are secured to head with a strap


Are there any brands you do not suggest?


If your child is below the age of 8, or small for their age, there are some brands that do not carry frames small enough for your child.


There are always exceptions and make sure to check sizes before ordering. Children are not all the same so the brands below may work for your child.


Some brands that advertise for children, but do not carry small sizes include Pair Eyeware, Warby Parker, Ray Ban, Jonas Paul, and Zenni Optical.


These are all fantastic brands and look great on, but unfortunately are much too large for younger and smaller children.


It is recommended to try these brands after age 8.


Another negative to these brands for younger and smaller children is they are not flexible frames, so your child is more likely to break them or injure their face in an accident.


I already bought frames that are too big, what do I do?


This is so common and if it’s within your store’s return policy, you should be able to return or exchange them for a smaller size. Unfortunately, it is up to your Optical Shop if they allow returns.


Sadly, we have a pair of expensive frames my daughter will not fit in for another 5 years and by then they will most likely be out of style.


Many parents have explained to the Optical Shop they have been sold an ill-fitting medical device and need to exchange them. This may work, but it may not.



Fitting your child for their glasses is very important. If your child is not wearing properly fitted glasses, they will be uncomfortable for them, and it will be difficult to get them to keep them on.


My daughter continued to complain about her ill-fitting glasses. Once she was in frames that fit her perfectly, she stopped complaining.


If your child continues to take their glasses off, has red marks on their face, or the glasses rest on their cheeks, it could be a sign the glasses do not fit properly.


Feel free to share your child’s glasses journey with us in the comments.



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