This past spring my two younger children both got prescriptions for glasses. Sami is now 7 and Eli 5. This is an event that I've been expecting probably since the time they were born. My husband and I both wear glasses and have since we were children. So, I have asked other moms whose children already have glasses all sorts of questions over the years about glasses.
Here's a quick summary of what I've learned...
+ Children's eyes continue to develop until they are 8 years old.
+ In little ones with severe struggles to see, glasses make an enormous difference. Infants who won't look at anyone will be able to focus and look at who is speaking to them if their eyesight is the issue.
+ Children's eyes change from one year to the next. Eye doctors try not to prescribe glasses unless they need to.
+ When children blink their eyes a lot, it is a sign that a child is struggling to focus.
+ Headaches are another sign that a child may need glasses.
+ Issues children can encounter with their eyes are not simply nearsighted, farsighted, and astigmatism. In the case of my children, the strength of their eyes impedes their abilities to focus. It is 20% of what it should be. My older daughter's is 65% of what it should be. So, for now she doesn't have glasses.
+ Children in school get an eye check every year, so it's easy for homeschoolers to miss it. It's helpful to get their eyes checked once a year to make sure everything's okay.
So, the waiting is over, so to speak. Two of my kids now need glasses! What now??? Where do I go? A new dilemma.
I learned one place not to go and I learned that cheapest pair isn't always a satisfactory solution.
Back in May, I went shopping with Sami's prescription in hand. We first went to Costco, where we normally get glasses. There was only a very small selection of children's frames. There were three women working at the time who were working and standing together chatting. I arrived frazzled with my three children in tow. I did not receive a warm or helpful reception and so I turned on my heals and left when I realized that one pair of children's glasses would cost $100--with no breakage warranty included. It was more than I was prepared to spend that day and like I said--I was frazzled. I needed some help. I returned to Walmart where she was given her exam and purchased two pairs for her. The first cost $38 and the second is discounted when purchased at the same time. Her prescription is weak, so she didn't anything extra. There is a one year breakage warranty on the glasses. Yay!
One down, one to go...
Two weeks later, Eli had his exam and found that he needed glasses as well. I decided to just purchase one pair at Walmart at the time and keep looking. They had a pair small enough for his face which was a blessing. Within a month, I realized it would be wise to have a second pair around. So, I watched for a sale and began asking around. Back to school sales brought a lot of sales on eyeglasses. JC Penney had a sale for $25 (with a 1 year breakage warranty), so I made the trek to the store to check it out. I ordered a pair and waited a week for them to arrive. When I got the phone call, they were in, we headed back to the store to pick them up. I would never go back again to order glasses from JC Penney. The frames I ordered didn't have spring hinges (I didn't realize it at the time). There was very little choose from for his size. They only had one boy pair the size we purchased (which was two sizes larger than the walmart frames). But, the frustrating part was that they didn't give him a hard case and the woman working didn't even fit the glasses to his face. It was almost like purchasing a pair of reading glasses from the carousel at the grocery store!
Recently, I did ask another friend who has several children who wear glasses and she goes to America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses. Two pairs cost $70 and she can get always depend on a good price. I've also noticed that her children are able to get frames that are solid and aren't the wire type of frames (which are the only ones I've found at the other stores for Eli in his size). Next year, I'm definitely going to head over to America's Best with the kids' prescriptions.
So, that's what I've learned this year. Skip JC Penney. Walmart works. America's Best is worth checking out. If you have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them!