Parents all want the best for their children’s learning, health and development. When their optometrist says, “your child needs to wear spectacles” it’s natural that they can feel confused and overwhelmed, especially if this is the first time they’ve been confronted with a problem of this kind. So how can you ensure the lens decision making process is as smooth as possible and achieve the greatest results?
Most consumers have little knowledge about the importance of eye health, particularly when it comes to children’s vision – they don’t realise that 80 per cent of a child’s learning in the early years depends on good vision. This means that as optometrists, we need to educate parents about how important it is to ensure their children have good vision – both for normal eye development and maximised learning.
When vision correction is required, there are a number of considerations that must be emphasised during the lens discussion. This will ensure parents make the best decision to aid their child’s development.
Single vision is great for full time wear, however, if the child only needs to wear spectacles for reading, then extended reading lenses are a much better option. This will avoid the need to take glasses on and off, which leads to sub-optimal vision. An example of this is when the child is swapping between their notes and the white board or tablet. Reading glasses are simply not the best solution available and this should be carefully explained to the parents.
Kids are generally pretty rough when it comes to caring for and cleaning their spectacle lenses
Companies have a range of lenses that provide flexibility for different visual demands. Depending on the prescription and eye condition, specific multifocal designs, with wider near and intermediate corridors, may also be appropriate.
The option of an aspheric lens designs may also be optimal as vision will be less distorted, and clear at all angles.
Material and Index
The strength of a lens material, its weight, thickness and lightness are all factors that make a difference to the wearer’s experience.
Lens weight can affect young sensitive skin and also wearer comfort. Reducing lens weight helps ensure eyewear remains comfortable for the wearer over long periods, and in doing so, encourages compliance.
Thickness makes a difference to how the glasses look, and again, this will contribute to compliance – understandably, kids will avoid wearing glasses that do not look great. High index materials are an excellent solution to encourage spectacle wearing adherence.
If eyewear needs to be worn when playing sport, a strong polycarbonate material is an absolute necessity.
Kids are generally pretty rough when it comes to caring for and cleaning their spectacle lenses. As a consequence their lenses often become scratched and they lose clarity of vision. A strong hard coating is the obvious solution to be discussed with parents as this will enhance lens longevity and help maintain clear vision.
With the increasing use of screens at school, home and often prior to bedtime, anti-reflection and Blue UV coatings are also important to discuss. These coatings protect against screen glare, eye fatigue and disruption to sleep patterns. Parents need to be educated on this and these coatings should be viewed as a necessity.
The amount of time a child spends outdoors and whether or not he or she is required to wear their glasses full time, will determine whether or not you recommend protection against glare and UV. If this protection is appropriate, discuss the alternative options of a UV coating or photochromic lenses.
Take the Challenge
Evolving lens technology means we can now offer our younger patients superior products that will maintain clearer vision at all distances and under different environments – ensuring they have the support they need to maximise learning and development. Of course the challenge as always, is to have the discussion in the exam room then get your team to follow through with your recommendations.
Jim Papas is an optometrist with extensive experience in contact lenses. A practice partner of eyeclarity, he is an expert in retail, business strategy and brand development. Jim has won multiple awards for customer service and commercial innovation, including the 2015 Australian Retail Innovator of the Year award. His Melton eyeclarity practice won The Melton Business Excellence Award for the best Retail Business for 2016.
Navigating the Lens Options
Hoya has a suite of lens materials that are ideal for kids’ glasses. Hoya’s Phoenix material is extremely durable with 10 times the impact resistance of 1.50 index – it’s the perfect match for children that are tough on their specs, without sacrificing optical performance. Super lightweight with a specific gravity of 1.11 Phoenix really helps children with a higher prescription by improving all day wearing comfort.
For children of the digital age, Dynamic Sync is the ideal lens. Dynamic Sync reduces digital eyestrain after a long day looking at screens and books. With a slight near boost in the lower section of the lens, Dynamic Sync really helps the eyes to focus up close for long periods at a time while still allowing uninterrupted distance vision. This means spectacles can be worn all day long.
Combing either of these lens solutions with Hoya’s award winning Diamond Finish coatings will provide children the best possible protection. Diamond Finish UV protects against UV rays outdoors while Diamond Finish Blue Control protects from the effects of blue light.
With unmatched scratch resistance, all Diamond Finish coatings offer the best combination of cosmetic appearance, strength, UV and blue light protection for growing eyes with the added advantage of a three year manufacturer’s guarantee and a three month scratch warranty for those little mishaps that may happen in the playground.
Contact: Hoya Account Manager
Myopilux lenses, available in two designs – Myopilux Max and Myopilux Plus – are clinically proven as the most effective spectacle lens solution for controlling kids’ myopia.
Myopilux Max is a prismatic bifocal lens recommended for exophoric patients. According to Essilor, it provides the widest field of vision for a myopic child.
Myopilux Plus is a progressive addition lens specially designed for kids, taking into account the eye anatomy, facial anatomy and ergonomics. This lens offers a wide range of vision and provides posture comfort.
Both lenses come in a wide range of materials in clear as well as Transitions lenses.
Contact: Essilor Account Manager.
Bonastar kidsPro myopia control lens can slow the rate of myopia progression for children aged from eight to 16. Once prescribed, this lens needs to be followed up by the optometrist at least once every six months in order to achieve the best result in control of short-sightedness.
Bonastar kidsPro takes into account important parameters including distance from the eye to the back vertex of the lens, pantoscopic tilt of the frame, pupil distance and lens prescription.
This lens is easy to fit into any small children’s frame. The minimum fitting height is 17mm and a shorter corridor enables an easy transition between the far vision zone and the reading zone. According to Bonastar, this lens is the thinnest and lightest myopia control lens to wear.
Key features and benefits:
- A shorter corridor
- A wider reading zone
- A wider far vision zone
- A softer design compared to conventional progressive lens.
Bonastar kidsPro is available in 1.5, 1.61. Safe wear material is available from addition +0.75 to +2.00, and prescription ranges from -15.00D to +8.50D sphere to a -6.00 cylinder.
Contact: Bonastar (AUS) 02 9310 1688
SOLA first launched Access in 1993 to provide computer users ‘access’ to the near and intermediate visual depth needed for comfortable PC use. Twenty-three years on, Access remains one of the most popular near vision lenses prescribed in Australia and New Zealand.
Recognising the versatility of this lens design early on, eye care practitioners started using Access as part of their treatment for accommodative disorders among children, and today a large number of Access lenses continue to be prescribed for children.
The efficacy of the Access design is primarily delivered through the very large near vision zone, while the soft design makes it an easy-to-wear lens.
Today’s modern design and freeform manufacturing technology has markedly improved lens designs for this purpose, resulting in Zeiss Digital lenses.
Zeiss Digital lenses offer:
- A true and large clear distance zone which closely mimics single vision lens performance. The upper zone in Access often contains residual plus power
- A choice in addition powers: 0.50D, 0.75D, 1.00D and 1.25D. Access is limited to 0.75D and 1.25D shifts
- A high and wide near zone, delivering rapid travel from the distance to the near zone
- Available in both standard and individualised options, although both are optically optimised through freeform manufacturing
- A default near working distance of 30cm, which better reflects the working distances for children. The near working distance can be altered when prescribing Zeiss Digital Individual
- A comprehensive choice in lens materials
- Competitive pricing.
Contact: Zeiss Account Manager
The typical distance to hold a smart phone is 17.5 to 20cm – over half the available accommodation of children over 10 yrs old. In the long term, this leads to accommodative fatigue. Mono Plus 2 is a full back surface digital design SV lens with a power boost that’s optimised using Listings Law for eye rotation and EyeModel. This calculates the near script, providing remarkably clear vision for both distance and near, up to the frame rim providing.
- Relaxed and fatigue-free vision at near – particularly when using digital devices such as smartphones, e-books etc.
- Pin sharp, high-contrast vision right up to the rim of the frame thanks to EyeModel.
- In combination with Solitaire Protect Balance 2 coating, increased well-being and a balanced biorhythm.
Contact: Rodenstock (AUS) 02 9748 0988