He loves to break my glasses. Now he needs his own.
May 9, 2012 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Our 18 month old needs glasses. Before we head over to the eyeglasses store, is there anything we should know?

Our son was diagnosed with accomodative esotropia, and needs glasses to correct his far-sightedness. The pediatric ophthalmologist recommended Miraflex glasses. Any experience with that brand, or any other, or even with getting a toddler to keep the darn things on would be most welcome.
posted by ambrosia to Shopping (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My son needed glasses at about age 4. FWIW, we never had any trouble with him keeping them on. Although 4 and 18 months are obviously very different. However, I do want to warm you to be ready for stupid insensitive comments from adults, particularly older adults. Putting glasses on kids must have been something that wasn't done with previous generations. We were shocked how often adult strangers would criticize the fact that we had glasses on a 4 year old. Our biggest concern was that repeated comments from insensitive clods would give him a complex, as we apparently were doing something right since the glasses were not a problem. My wife would stare them down and say very coldly, "And you think him going blind in one eye is a better alternative?"
That usually ended the conversation.

Other kids were never a problem, it was just adults who felt the need to say something stupid.

Good luck!
posted by COD at 5:36 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

My daughter had the same diagnosis at 2.5. She discovered quickly that she could see better with the glasses on, and then she never wanted to take them off, even in the pool! Good luck.
posted by wisekaren at 5:43 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

And my then-10-year-old, who is also very unlike a 18 month old, was very very very opposed to getting glasses, and told us that he would ON PURPOSE lose or break his glasses if we made him wear them. It took him about half a second to realize, once the glasses were on his face, that HEY - I CAN SEE! and he was instantly converted to loving his glasses. I am relating this story only to say, hopefully your 18 month old will find it so wonderful to see clearly that he will find a purpose in keeping the glasses on his face.
posted by molasses at 5:49 PM on May 9, 2012

My grandson has worn glasses since he was 8 months old. The only time he takes them off is if he's mad. It's his way of not looking at you. Buy two pair if you can afford it so you have a spare. Be prepared to replace them fairly often as they grow out of them pretty quickly. To my knowledge there haven't been any personal issues other than people saying how cute he looks with them.
posted by tamitang at 5:51 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

If the glasses are fought with for a while, just keep trying. When I got glasses for the first time, my prescription was so strong it made me dizzy and nauseous to wear them. It took a few weeks for me to consistently wear them, and even today I still take them off whenever I can get away with it (not often, my prescription is really very high.)

Just don't give up - and don't make it a fight, either. The more conflict that surrounds the things, the worse it becomes. Most little kids I've known with glasses did fine, because everyone's patient and low key about it. It may help (if there's resistance) to meet with grownups and cool kids who have glasses, or show them pictures of famous kids with glasses.

BTW total props for getting the glasses now and not in 3rd grade when things are really out of control.

It is much easier to get a small child to start wearing glasses than it is to get them to start wearing hats.
posted by SMPA at 5:59 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I hesitate to offer this up, since our little girl was much older (4 years) when she got glasses. Her eye doc suggested that she be given the option to take them off when she was outside playing, but she never had a problem keeping them on most of the time.

I'd think the doc might have some suggestions for keeping the glasses on, if you were to call and ask. I also found this same question asked elsewhere: How can I get my toddler to wear glasses? Seems to have some good tips.

(The only comments we've had from adults are super-enthusiastic ones about how stylish her glasses are. Comments from kids have so far been statements of fact, e.g., "She has glasses.")
posted by moira at 6:17 PM on May 9, 2012

Oh, and as far as Miraflex goes, I can't comment on the brand, but I definitely feel that for little ones, more flexible = better. At the very least, I'd get glasses with temples that can be extended outwards without breaking.
posted by moira at 6:21 PM on May 9, 2012

I had glasses that young, and also had to deal with adults making comments in front of me. My parents were also very grateful that the local provider had a plan that replaced damaged glasses within a year of purchase, as I apparently used mine as a truck. On the sidewalk.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:22 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Consider shopping online for glasses; they are crazy cheap compared to storefronts. At least to have a couple extras stashed in places like the car. It really sucks to break/lose a pair far from home and be blind for a few days.
posted by Mitheral at 6:37 PM on May 9, 2012

I have experience with this from the perspective of a mom (little dude in glasses at 3), and as a pediatric provider.

Get your first frames at a place very experienced with pediatric frames, FITTINGS, and options for the pediatric client. Later, you can save $ and shop around with what you will have learned, but it is way beyond worth it to get that first pair with an technician who is comfortable with pediatric clients and options. The fitting part is SO important. Your 18 mo old won't be able to say "the ear piece is rubbing me raw right here," but a good tech can predict for that. Bring your kiddo to the fitting rested, fed, and in a good mood because it takes longer than you think.

You'll get lots of advice about the kind of frame to get, but every kid is different, and here's another place the tech can help. You may go in thinking a flex frame, but some other type you never considered may fit and work better. Also, a tech comfortable with peds will have advice and choose frame options to make sure daily wear is successful, not a struggle, and comfortable right away.

Ask lots of questions about their replace/repair policy. I think it's better to have something reasonable for replace/repair set up as policy versus getting a cheap back-up pair that may not be fitted correctly and so give your child nausea/headache. In our case, we set it up so that they would replace the frame (not lenses) once, for any reason (including crazy kid reasons), repair for free, provide a loaner for repairs or replacements taking longer than 2 days.

You'll be in a lot getting the frames adjusted. Kids wiggle, lay their heads down, grow in unpredicted ways. Also, our kid needed lens adjustments every 6 months for awhile, too.

We had a "SPECTACLE SPECTACLE" (get it?) party after he got them where we had his little buddies and adult friends over and everyone wore their glasses or wore fake ones. It was a fun way to normalize it. Now, your little one's a little small to get all that, but if he has older siblings they may get into that and then be advocates for him.

Even very little ones quickly adapt to glasses as a Very Important Tool for their little primate lives. I've worked with very small babies, who when I do an exam on them, cry when I remove their glasses. How long this takes depends on their developmental level. Gauge how long it will be for you based on how long it takes your son to pick up other daily habits.

Finally, with babies and toddlers, each night when you put them to bed, do a skin check on all the places the frame may touch their skin. Skin redness and breakdown happens fast and they may not tell you. Divots and redness aren't normal, and it means you need to get adjusted again.

Good luck with your little guy!
posted by rumposinc at 6:51 PM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]

My daughter has worn glasses since she was 4 months old (for strabismus). Up until her most recent pair at age 4, she wore Miraflex frames and we were totally happy with them. They were practically indestructible and she could even fall asleep with them on (like for a nap). I tried shopping online but never purchased any that way and would not recommend it for a young child - fit is very difficult to assess and the measurements (pupillary distance, I think it's called?) should really be taken by someone with pediatric experience.

As for keeping them on her, we didn't have too much trouble, although she wore them from such an early age she might have just been used to it. Her Miraflexes had an adjustable strap, though she did manage to chew on them a few times when she was the age of yours - watch out for that, their teeth can scratch the lens up good in no time! When she got older the only little issue was that she could not put the glasses ON by herself because of the strap. By that time she was ready for a little more grown up style of frames though.

She was super cute in her baby specs and got a lot of attention. We never really got any negative comments, though when we lived in LA somtimes people often thought they were just for looks and not real glasses! Good luck!
posted by FuzzyVerde at 7:21 PM on May 9, 2012

My friend Ann is a research librarian and when her daughter needed glasses at a young age, she hit the Internet in full research mode and found very little out there. So she started a blog that's become a community, Little Four Eyes.
posted by advicepig at 8:00 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Stay away from any frames that are overly heavy. They can be fatiguing.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:29 PM on May 9, 2012

I had glasses at age 3. The biggest thing I remember about them was falling asleep with them on. That, and they had curved ear pieces that kind of gripped my ear. You might want to be careful, though. Those curved ear pieces ended in a metal ball that a lot of people thought was earrings. I never minded my glasses, and my parents even got me a doll that wore glasses! That was really exciting!
posted by Night_owl at 3:28 AM on May 10, 2012

A+ for Miraflex glasses. The babies I've known to wear them don't have any problem with keeping them on because they don't want to take them off. The baby sizes include fabric bands which keep them on the head without causing divots, those come highly recommended. Peek-a-boo with taking glasses off and putting them back on reinforces that they should remain on as a default.
posted by juniperesque at 7:32 AM on May 10, 2012

I had the eye patch and glasses when I was little. ARRRRR. I was a pirate.

People are idiots, and would stare at my parents like, "What are you doing to the baby?"

At any rate, glasses look adorable on babies. I'd recommend the strap for sure.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:56 PM on May 10, 2012

That's funny, I was going to suggest Little Four Eyes, because an old friend of mine always links to them on FB. I didn't know that it was actually her site. Small world!
posted by echo0720 at 3:12 PM on May 10, 2012

Thanks everyone for the input! His new glasses came yesterday, and he's mostly okay with them, which is a relief. I think he is so delighted to see better that he likes wearing them. Yay!

We wound up going to a place that does nothing but children's glasses, which was well worth it even if it was a bit $$$. They don't carry Miraflex, but a similar brand called Solo Bambini. They are unbreakable and have a strap to help them stay on. The link to the Little Four Eyes blog was very helpful too.
posted by ambrosia at 10:07 AM on May 23, 2012

Adorable! I'm so glad he's able to see better.
posted by runningwithscissors at 11:38 AM on May 24, 2012

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