APR 20

High Index Eyeglasses: A Good Choice for Your Child

There is more to getting glasses than buying a pair that corrects your child’s vision. It has to have a good fit, feel comfortable, and make him or her feel good about their appearance. While determining the correct lens prescription is your optometrist’s job, much of the rest of glasses selection is up to you. This process is challenging enough with low and medium prescription glasses, but is even more so for glasses with high prescriptions.

A choice you will make is to either use a standard plastic lens such as CR-39, which is economical, or use a lens made from a high index plastic, which costs more. You will also have to choose a comfortable frame. Here are four important considerations when making these choices:

Comfort and a Good Fit Are Essential

After getting the correct lens prescription, fit and comfort are the most important considerations. An uncomfortable pair of glasses causes pain and will distract your child from her daily activities both at home and at school. If the glasses frame is too small or tight where they sit on the nose or around the ears, it can cause discomfort and even pain.

The frame bridge size, which is the distance between the two lenses, is an important dimension for proper fit and comfort at the bridge of the nose. The temple size, which is the length of the arm piece, affects ear comfort and how well the glasses stay put on your child. A temple size that’s too long will make the glasses slide down the nose. A pair of glasses that does that on a child, won’t last long because it will be falling off during play. This makes it more likely to get damaged or lost.

It’s important not to size up the glasses to account for growth because your child needs good fitting glasses now. Another problem with over sizing glasses is that the lenses won’t properly center over the eyes. This is necessary for optimal vision correction.

How Lens Weight Affects Your Child

Thick lenses are heavy, and this weight contributes to nose pinching and nose indentation. Glasses should enhance your child’s experiences rather than distract from them because of discomfort. Heavy lenses are also more likely to cause the glasses to fall off during times of physical activity. Play and exercise are important for all children, and a pair of glasses shouldn’t get in the way. High index eyeglasses are thin and lightweight, which make them more comfortable and more likely to stay on during play and other activities.

How Lens Choice Affects Appearance

Thick lenses tend to shrink the eye’s apparent size for nearsighted prescriptions, and magnify the eyes for farsighted prescriptions. When there’s a significant difference in prescription level between the eyes, then one lens will be thicker than the other. This will cause one eye to appear larger (or smaller) than the other. High index eyeglasses minimize this effect. While this may not bother your child at a very young age, it could affect him or her socially starting in the preadolescent years.

Peer acceptance is important in the preadolescent and teen years when children are forming their identities. It can have a long-term effect on self-image and confidence throughout one’s life. High index eyeglasses are available in a broad range of styles, and good-looking glasses are always in style. High index eyeglasses are also available for various types of sports and activities. Athleticism is healthy for people of all ages, and it’s good to establish a physical fitness habit at an early age.

A Good Compromise

If your child’s glasses prescription is in the medium to high range, polycarbonate lenses might be a good compromise. While more expensive than standard CR-39 plastic lenses, they are more economical than high index lenses. Their weight and thickness are also somewhere between CR-39 lenses and 1.67 high index lenses. Polycarbonate is extremely tough and can easily handle rough treatment. Be sure to get it with an anti-scratch coating.

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