CASE STUDY: Children's Frame Fitting
We would like to thank our own Emily-Grace for being the inspiration for writing this blog. She came to us being very disappointed with her current glasses. As the picture on the left shows, the frame was very rigid, skewed at the front and left red sore marks on her ears. It really was a classic example of a poorly fitting frame. To remedy this, we fitted her with flexible and lightweight ‘Tomato Specs’ which have sides that are fully customisable with rubberised ear tips. She was delighted upon collecting them and mum, Laura, was happy to help us raise awareness for other parents.
Choosing the right frames for our kids
According to recent statistics, almost one in five children need glasses. Helping our kids making decisions about their glasses isn’t easy. For parents, it’s often a case of trial and error. There are many frames to try on and so many things to think about. Do they look nice? Are they the right colour? Do they look cool? But in reality, are we giving more preference to these factors over the actual fitting and comfort? Though your child should have a positive feeling about wearing their glasses, as a parent, you should also pay attention to a few other details when choosing frames for your child. In this article, we are going to attempt to tackle major issues relating to spectacle selection and fitting.
How many times have we visited retail outlets, grabbed a handful of clothes that looked amazing on the rack, only to come out of the dressing room and not purchase any of them because they simply didn’t fit our bodies perfectly? The same thing applies to glasses. Just because the shape and colour entices you doesn’t mean they are suitable for your facial characteristics. It’s true, the style you choose can help you look and feel your best. It boosts confidence and enhances our performance in all aspects of our lives. However, the fit of your glasses is equally as important and is often neglected. Kids are always growing and that’s why it’s necessary that you work with the Dispensing Optician in your practice to obtain the best fitting possible for them.
Why is it essential?
COSMESIS - glasses look a little strange when they don’t fit properly.
COMFORT- when not fitting properly, glasses are usually uncomfortable. They press against the ears, slide down your nose and even fall off.
CONFIDENCE - when glasses are not fitting properly a child can be put off from wearing them, this can in-turn affect their safety and those around them.
VISION - If your glasses don’t fit as they should, they may not be correcting your vision properly as the optical properties of the glasses change depending on how far the lenses are from the eyes.
Tip – A well fitting pair will ensure your pupils (eye centres) are aligned to the optical centre of your lenses. Your eyes are as central as possible. The frame front is as wide as your head width and the arms are long enough to fit round your ear comfortably.
The Tyrrells & Embery formula!
Let your child choose their favourite frames. Let their imaginations run wild. If the colours are right, then your child will be motivated and will show confidence while wearing them. With experience, you’ll find that children have the same expectations as adults with regard to their frames. Nowadays, they have opinions on just about everything so give them credit through guidance. However, the fit is crucial. They should be comfy and sit well at all times without slipping and leaving marks on the nose and ears. This is an important criterion for babies and toddlers too.
The frames should neither be too big or too small. The size of the glasses depends on the size of the eye socket (orbit) and the distance between the child’s eyes (pupil distance). It is also important that the frame doesn’t sit on the child's cheeks otherwise they will lift every time they smile. In addition, they should not be higher than the eyebrows or wider than the face. To simplify matters, the more compact the frames are, the less likely they are to inconvenience your child. At the same time, the glasses should be large enough so that your child can see comfortably in all directions. Buying glasses which are too large so that your child can grow into them is definitely not recommended and ideal.
The bridge of the frame should have maximum contact to the nose surface as possible to distribute pressure evenly. It’s more important in younger children as they don’t have a well-defined nasal bridge. Silicone saddle bridges and gel pads are a new feature that can also provide an alternative solution to overcome fitting issues.
Lenses for children have to be centred very accurately. Even small errors in measurements impact the performance of lenses significantly and affect ocular development. You’re dispensing optician will take the appropriate measurements for your child.
The material used for the frames should be suitable for your child’s natural agility, which means they should be “robust and shatter-resistant”. Safety is better than beauty! If your child has a nickel allergy, titanium is an excellent material to consider. Its lightweight properties are suitable for all. Plastic is also a good alternative.
The temples of the frames merit particular attention. The glasses should naturally sit in the correct position and the temples should not exert any pressure. Spring hinges are very robust and give flexibility to the frame. Rubberised tips are becoming increasingly popular as well.
BROKEN, DAMAGED or LOST glasses? No problem…
Kids, especially babies and toddlers need time before they get used to the feeling of glasses on their noses. Consider it a success once you’re child is happy to wear them without the expected drama knowing that it’s beneficial for them. Over time, wear and tear will occur regardless and accidents will happen therefore repairs and replacements are readily available and are free for children aged 15 and under.