Healthy Lifestyle

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How to help kids adapt to eyeglasses

Children's vision problems often become apparent when youngsters first enter school. Poor performance in the classroom may have little to do with a learning disability or a stubborn student, and a lot to do with poor vision.

Vision problems can often be traced to genetics. A family history of various vision troubles increase the likelihood that a child will one day require corrective glasses. In addition, a growing reliance on digital devices may increase a child's risk of computer eye strain, which may compound already present vision deficits.

Understanding that he or she needs to wear glasses does not always translate into a child's willingness to actually wear those glasses, as peer pressure remains an obstacle when encouraging kids to embrace their eyeglasses. Younger children may find it difficult to understand why they need glasses or they may forget to put them on or how to care for them properly. Parents may find it challenging to acclimate a child to eyeglasses, but there are a few strategies to help make that transition go more smoothly.

Shop together

Children may be more receptive to eyeglasses if they get to choose those glasses. Glasses are personal and should be sized according to the wearer's face. Kids should select various pairs of glasses they like and try them on. Narrow down the pairs based on comfort, look and price. If your child likes a particular pair of glasses, it may be worth spending a few extra dollars for those frames, as kids are more likely to wear glasses they like.

Move over "Coke bottle lenses"

The eyeglasses of the past are much different from the eyeglasses of the present. Lens and frame technology has transformed the look and feel of eyeglasses. Lenses may be thinner and less apparent than ever before. Eyeglass manufacturers have developed frames that are bendable or almost entirely invisible thanks to frameless lenses. Some lenses reduce glare, and others tint when touched by sunlight. So it's unlikely your son or daughter will end up looking like Mr. Magoo.

Present positive images of role models

Kids may be quicker to warm to eyeglasses if parents showcase a few of the many worthy role models who wear glasses, and do so with style. In addition to many celebrities, such as Tina Fey, Elle Fanning, Justin Timberlake, Joe Jonas, and Anne Hathaway, who frequently don eyeglasses, there are likely many people in your family or group of friends who wear glasses, and kids often want to emulate their elders.

Choose the right time

Make sure a child is well rested and happy before he or she dons eyeglasses for the first time. Start with a few minutes per day and build up to wearing the glasses for the prescribed duration. Use positive reinforcement and rewards for wearing and taking good care of the glasses.

Point out the benefits

Highlight activities that will be improved by better vision as they relate to your kids' interests. Perhaps glasses will make gaming easier. Point out to kids who love to read how much more comfortable they are now that they can see the words on the page more easily. When it comes to the family athlete, discuss how much easier it is to see the ball now that your budding athlete is wearing eyeglasses.

Modify daily routines

You will have to work with your children to make some changes to facilitate wearing eyeglasses. Store the glasses in the same place each night before bed so that kids can find them in the morning. Emphasize wearing eyeglasses as much as you emphasize everyday activities like brushing teeth or making the bed. Explain to teachers the prescribed wearing schedule so that they are aware of when your son or daughter needs to wear his or her eyeglasses.

The transition to wearing eyeglasses is not always easy for kids, but many adjust rather quickly.