Children's glasses

When is the right age for glasses?

By the age of three or four a child’s eyes should be fully developed and an eye exam at this age will determine whether they have a vision problem that needs correcting with glasses. Correcting vision problems as early as possible will prevent a child from having any problems with seeing the board and reading in the classroom.

If you notice any signs of squinting, twitching or greying of the pupil, consult an optician immediately. The same applies if a baby is not making eye contact or poor sight runs in the family.

Why do children need glasses?

A child will need glasses if they have, for example, short-sightedness (myopia) where distant objects appear blurred, while close objects can be seen clearly or if they have long-sightedness (hyperopia) where distant objects can be seen clearly but objects that are up close are blurry and out of focus.

How is a child tested for glasses?

A refraction test will be carried out by an optometrist to determine whether a child needs glasses or not, and if so what prescription they need. Before the test, your child may be given eye drops to widen their pupils so that the back of the eyes can be seen more clearly.

Before this test, the child will be asked to look at a light or read letters on a chart, while different lenses are placed in front of their eyes.

Other eye tests that may be carried out

  • An Ishihara test to test for colour blindness
  • A range of movement tests which involves moving objects in front of the eyes to see how well the eye muscles work
  • Snellen and LogMAR chart tests that are used when children can recognise letters
  • Attention to visual objects tests to see if the child’s eyes follow objects that are moved in front of them
  • A pupil reflex test to check that the pupils react correctly to light

Questions to ask the optometrist

  • Does your child have to wear glasses all the time?
  • Does the prescription require thick lenses?

Features to consider when choosing your child’s glasses

  • Adjustable nose pads for a proper bridge fit
  • Spring hinges to keep the frames in place
  • Impact-resistant lens material that can resist a fall
  • Make sure that the temples are comfortable and don’t cause pressure behind the ears
  • The spectacles need to be adjusted precisely to the middle of the pupils
  • Consider a warranty, if your child is quite young the glasses are more susceptible to breakage

Taking care of your child’s glasses

  • Use a microfibre cloth to clean the glasses
  • Encourage your child to take care of their glasses by always putting them in their case when taking them off


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