Choose eyeglasses for your child based on fit first and style second. The more comfortable and well-fitting a pair of frames, the more likely your kid will be to wear them throughout the day. Once you know your child's measurements and sizing needs, then you can choose flattering silhouettes, bright hues and patterns, and which materials offer improved durability and scratch resistance. Make these the top priorities when you shop and help your child get the perfect pair of frames.
What are the safest, most comfortable, and durable eyewear options for children? Explore our answers to questions you should ask when purchasing glasses for your children.
Kids' glasses need to be durable, comfortable, and stylish. Many manufacturers craft kids' eyeglasses in durable acetate, rubber, or nylon for improved impact resistance. These materials also lend themselves to superior comfort. Make sure to consider your child's style preferences as well. Vera Bradley Kids and Nike make brightly-hued options to suit children with playful preferences. It's also valuable to consider the age of your kid when purchasing frames. Younger kids can benefit from additional options like head straps and ear stops to keep the glasses in place. Gizmo, a popular children's eyewear brand, offers many styles with these included.
Plastic frames are the best option for kids' glasses, as their weight, impact resistance, and durability make them safe and comfortable for the active youngster. The thicker material also allows for fun prints and colors to be added, so children can showcase their style preferences with the accessory. Plastic frames are also most often used in sports and high-performance eyewear.
Metal, rubber, and nylon frames are also great options, as these materials flex for easy all-day wear. Additional options include memory metal, which will return to or "remember" its original shape after bending. EasyTwist makes a series of memory metal kid’s glasses that are virtually unbreakable and can withstand rough treatment without warping. These frames are ideal for the child who occasionally mishandles their glasses or tends to fall asleep while wearing them.
Plastic frames are better for kids, as they tend to be more durable and affordable than their metal counterparts. Acetate, which is the most common plastic used in glasses, is extremely lightweight and hypoallergenic, making it a great option for any child. Metal frames are especially good for older kids, or kids who do not need to wear their glasses for sports and activities. Metal glasses often come in lower-profile styles, with slim rims and minimal accents, so they also appeal to children who prefer a streamlined look.
Polycarbonate lenses are the best for children's glasses and sunglasses. The durable lens material is strong, making it ideal for an active child. polycarbonate lenses resist impacts, so during the inevitable childhood mishaps, they won't shatter as plastic or glass lenses do.
“If your child wears prescription glasses, we strongly suggest polycarbonate lenses for their safety,” says Dr. Hodgson of FramesDirect.com. “These lenses are impact-resistant, which will help protect your child from injuries if he or she has an accident while wearing eyeglasses.”
Polycarbonate lenses also provide 100% protection from UV rays—there's no need to purchase a special UV coating for them. UV rays can damage the eye just as they do the skin, so it's important for your child to wear eyeglasses that will protect their eyes from UV rays. And polycarbonate lenses are lighter weight and thinner than plastic or glass lenses, which will help your child adjust to wearing eyeglasses.
All polycarbonate and hi-index lenses at FramesDirect offer 100% UVA/UVB protection.
Lenses come with several other options, and some are ideal in children’s eyewear. Here are a few to consider:
A scratch-resistant coating is imperative in your child’s eyeglass lenses. All lenses are prone to scratching, but scratch-resistant lenses will better withstand rough treatment by a child.
Bright light reflecting on eyeglasses can be hard your child’s eyes; an anti-reflective lens coating will reflect light away from the eyes and reduce glare.
While most lenses are clear, you can also choose from a variety of tints and lens colors. Yellow lenses, which may offer some protection from the harmful blue light emitted by digital screens, are available in children’s eyeglasses.
Some brands offer their own proprietary lenses in children’s eyewear. For example, Wiley X Youth Force lenses meet ASTM F803 Sports Safety, ANSI High-Impact, and ANSI High-Velocity Impact standards. Whether your child takes a tumble or a ball to the face, rest assured their eyes are safe in these glasses.
Frames typically come with one of two options in nose padsadjustable or integrated pads. The adjustable style usually includes non-slip pads. This benefits the child in two ways: The nose pad will adjust to fit comfortably and securely, and the non-slip pad will keep the eyeglasses in place. Integrated nose pads are molded into the frame, with no separate parts or pieces. The benefit of integrated pads is durabilitybecause, let’s face it, kids can be rough on their eyewear.
Wearing glasses can improve the visual clarity your child enjoys, but it’s due to the vision correction offered by the lenses rather than any physical change to their eyes.
Durable, plastic frames with polycarbonate or high-index Trivex lenses are the best type of glasses for kids. This frame type comes in various silhouettes to flatter your child's face shape, as well as styles from preferred brands. Rectangular frames are universally flattering and come in a wide array of hues, while throwback looks like wayfarers and rounds are a great choice for the kid with retro-chic preferences.
Active kids need glasses that can handle the bumps, drops, and crashes that come along with childhood. Look for spring hinges, rugged materials like plastic or memory metals, and shatterproof polycarbonate lenses. EasyTwist frames can handle rough treatment—they’re made from a special metal alloy that’s tough enough to bend and twist, and then springs back into place. Frames from Oakley are another good option, as they feature non-slip contact points, so no matter how much running and jumping are on the schedule, these glasses are ready for the ride.
A common frustration for parents is a child’s misplaced eyeglasses. If your kid can’t seem to keep track of anything, then get a few pairs of inexpensive glasses. A lower price doesn’t mean you’re skimping on quality. Pez eyewear kids’ glasses are ruggedly constructed, so when you finally find the missing ones (in the dog’s bed, under the couch cushion, or in the bottom of the laundry basket) they’re ready to go again.
Brightly colored frames might help when it comes to tracking down vanished specs, so check out the bold, easy-to-spot options from Carrera and Tommy Hilfiger.
Many kids’ glasses are made with hypoallergenic materials. Acetate, a plastic derived from cotton and wood fibers, is hypoallergenic and durable. And nickel-free glasses or eyewear with silicone nose pads can help prevent allergic reactions.
Yes, bifocals are available to anyone who needs vision correction. No-line bifocals, also known as progressives, are perfect for children because of the seamless look of the lenses. Reading glasses are also available for children, in magnification powers from 1.00 and up.
The best way to get your child to wear their glasses is to get them involved in the selection process. Allow them some level of choice in the frames they’ll be wearing, even if they can’t get exactly what they want. Letting your child choose the color or shape, at the very least, will hopefully give them a sense of ownership and personalization of the glasses.
If your child still resists, suggest wearing the glasses for short periods of time at home, where you can offer reminders: Creating small, achievable goals will help establish the habit for the long term.
Yes. Most doctors’ offices and eyewear designers offer warranties on eyeglasses for childrenlook for a pair of eyeglasses with at least a one-year warranty. And keeping a spare pair on hand is a good idea in case your child's frames are lost or broken, and you must wait for another pair to be ordered.
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