There are plenty of great kids’ frames on the market and thankfully, these days, most children with visual impairment are more accepting of the need to wear them. Choosing the right frame for your young patient – in terms of style and fit – is essential to ensure compliance once the novelty of a new pair of glasses has worn off.
Despite the plethora of beautifully designed glasses now available for children, helping your customers select the right pair can be a challenge for multiple reasons. For a start, it can be near impossible to hold a conversation with a baby or toddler, let alone a teen. Then there are the parents to deal with as well.
According to Alicia Thompson, Director of Professional Examinations at the Association of British Dispensing Opticians, it requires two sets of skills.
“Parents can have mixed emotions when they find out their child needs glasses. They may feel guilty – was it their genetic make-up that resulted in the condition? Did they allow their child to spend too much time on the computer rather than encouraging them to play outside?”
Understanding the developing facial anatomy of a child can help you quickly select the most appropriate frames
Children on the other hand, have a limited concentration span. The young ones can feel intimidated or simply more interested in playing. Ms. Thompson says it’s a good idea to sit on the floor of your practice and take a look around to experience how young people feel when they’re in there – what adjustments can you make to ensure it’s more welcoming. Additionally, she says, be sure to have a play area, or at least colouring books, toys and magazines to keep them entertained while you’re conversing with their parents.
Understanding Where They’re Coming From
While young children are usually quite accepting about wearing glasses, as they get older they can become more resistant.
Ms. Thompson said it’s noticeable that girls are more concerned about their appearance while boys worry about what their mates will think.
“It’s worth taking time to ask your young patients how they feel about needing to wear glasses. This will give you some insights about the required approach.”
Faced with the difficulties of communicating with children and their parents, it could be tempting to ask the child to pick their favourite frame, place the order and usher them out of the door. Ms. Thompson says nothing could be worse.
She says selecting a frame that fits the child’s face well at their particular stage of development is essential to ensure they get the best vision correction and wear the glasses as required. “If a frame is uncomfortable, they will rip it off, break it on purpose or accidentally lose it.”
To avoid a child falling in love with a frame that just can’t be made to fit, she suggests keeping the majority of children’s frames out of sight until after you’ve completed the consultation, then selecting the frames that will best suit the individual child. “If a small girl picks a purple frame decorated with fairies ahead of the consultation, then you tell her later that the frame is not suitable, you’ll have created a negative experience, and it may be hard to convince her to take an alternative.”
Finding the Fit
Understanding the developing facial anatomy of a child can help you quickly select the most appropriate frames. As Ms. Thompson explained, the movement of a child’s crest travels from below the line of the lower lid to above as they move from babyhood into their teens. This dramatically influences where the bridge of the spectacle sits and therefore the fit.
For babies and young children, the frontal and splay angles are wide, and the crest is really low and flat, which means there is very little resting point for a pair of specs.
This remains the same until the child is about four to six years, at which time the crest begins to rise, providing more of a bearing surface to rest a frame on. From the age of 13 to 16, the angles are sharpening, the nose is narrowing and the crest is becoming higher.
There are plenty of beautiful frames out there that are light, strong and available in great shapes and colours, however Ms. Thompson said it is essential to ensure they can be modified and adjusted for fit.
“Some of the things you can do to modify a frame include shortening the sides, adding temple grips (I believe this is a last resort), making double nose pads, adding curls, using twin pad bridges to distribute the weight evenly, and changing the pad size. You can also fit pads on to the arms of plastic frames, especially for children who have a desire for acetates frames that are hard to adjust – this is easy to do and something I do often.
“But most importantly, if you don’t have the right frame for a particular child, be honest with the parents, let them know, discuss styles, order options in and ask them to come back. The parents will respect you more for doing so.”
As Ms. Thompson says, it’s all for the good of the child and your practice…
“If you look after the children, you get the whole family – whether you want them or not!”
Eyewear Kids Love
Jordan is the latest in kids’ eyewear from Bollé and it comes fitted with Bollé’s TNS lens. A coloured mirror coating has been added to select styles for extra light absorption, offering UV protection during high light intensity conditions.
Contact: Bollé (AUS) 03 8558 1000
Filled with energy, Rock Star delivers the latest mini-celeb looks with contemporary shapes, fun patterns and colour fusions.
Contact: Aaron’s Eyewear (AUS) 07 3367 8447
Nano Glow is the latest addition to the Nano Vista collection. Fluorescent particles mixed with the temples’ own colours create a glowing effect. Flexible and versatile, Nano Glow can be worn with a standard temple design or switched to wear with the supplied headband. Available in sizes 42 to 50 eye.
Contact: Aviva and Mann Optical (AUS) 08 9353 0400
Mars Fashion Kids
Mars Fashion Kids range is designed so kids can move around naturally at study and play, without the glasses falling off their face. It’s manufactured using light, strong and flexible materials and parts.
Contact: Bonastar (AUS) 02 9310 1688
Anne et Valentin
Anne et Valentin has launched its first raft of fun little acetate frames: simple, pop-tastic and above all, durable, with all important flexible hinges. Made in France, for kids. Pictured is Mario.
Contact: Eyemakers (AUS) 02 9960 7766
Titanflex Kids frames are light, flexible and robust, and mostly made from metal with Titanflex bridges and temples. New in 2017 are kids models featuring high density acetate fronts, enabling the latest fashion designs to be combined with the strength and reliability of Titanflex bridge and temples. Available in boys and girls models from 36 to 50 eye.
Contact: European Eyewear (AUS) 03 8756 0900
Fleye ‘Petite’ temples are made from flexible beta-titanium, ensuring optimal comfort for children’s faces. Common to all Fleye eyewear is that these frames are made of hypoallergenic quality materials such as beta-titanium, acetate, carbon fibre and wood, giving them a superb ease, flexibility and strength. Pictured is Lauri.
Contact: House of Brands (AUS) 02 9997 5373
ProOptics worked closely with behaviourial optometrists to develop the Random kids – durable, lightweight, flexible and easy to adjust eyewear. Manufactured in Korea from quality stainless steel and Ultem, it features a double injected temple tip and is available in 16 funky models from size 44-49. Warrantied for two years.
Contact: ProOptics (AUS) 02 8007 6041
Lightweight and flexible, the Nike optical range is made from acetate and features stacked temples with pop colour accents in a sneaker tread pattern as well as spring hinges for durability.
Contact: Gen Op Account Manager
Blinx Rubber Charms
Blinx collectable soft rubber charms simply slide on and off children’s glasses, allowing kids to change up their colour and style in an instant.
Kids Eye Gear
Kids Eye Gear presents colourful orthoptic eye patches for children that are adhesive, latex-free, hypoallergenic and available in six different colours.
OG Mini Icons
The Oliver Goldsmith Mini Icons collection comprises exact replicas of some of OG’s most iconic styles, including Glyn and Sophia, sized down for the style savvy adolescent. OG teamed with Carl Zeiss lenses to ensure OG Minis are made to the same high standards as its adult collection.
Contact: MyM Group: (AUS) 07 5528 3656
Colour and craftsmanship combine to give Olly its multi-faceted feel of minimalism and sophisticated playfulness.
Contact: ProOptics (AUS) 02 8007 6041
The Safilo Kids collection is 100 per cent made in Italy for kids aged zero to eight. They’re designed for enhanced comfort and fitting, as well as maximum safety.
Contact: Safilo (AUS) 02 9540 0500
Internationally awarded Tomato Glasses have height adjustable nose pads and temples that can be cut down to size. They’re available in over 30 colours including solids and crystals, for all ages from newborns, and in sizes 35 to 52.
Contact: Tomato Glasses (AUS) 03 8340 0441