Refractive Error and Eyeglass Recommendations

What is refractive error?

Refractive error is the condition where the image that the eye is looking at is not focused on the retina of the eye. Refractive error causes blurred vision. There are 3 types of refractive error: myopia; hyperopia; and astigmatism.

  • Myopia (Nearsightedness) – The condition where a person has blurred vision at distance.
  • Hyperopia (Farsightedness) – The condition where a person (especially over the age of 40) has difficulty seeing well at near distances. 
  • Astigmatism – The condition in which the eye is shaped more like an egg, rather than a sphere, causing blurred vision.

Tips for getting a good fit

  • Find an optical shop that has a good selection of children’s frames. Call ahead to make sure the staff are comfortable working with children.
  • Make sure the frames are the right width for your child’s face. The width of the frame should be about the same as the widest part of the child’s face. Also, be sure the earpieces are the right length to avoid slipping off your child's face or rubbing on your child’s ears.
  • Many children find that a flexible curved earpiece is most comfortable, especially for active, athletic children or teens, because it helps keep the glasses in place.
  • When choosing frames, consider the shape of your child’s face and their personal preferences for color and shape. The more a child likes his or her glasses, the more likely they are to actually wear them.
  • Flexible hinges on the frames and protective coatings on the lenses will help increase the life of the glasses.
  • For young children (under 3 years of age), one-piece frames made of flexible plastic are excellent. Miraflex and Solobambini are examples of brands that make this type of frame that comes without hinges. The frames also come with a strap in the back to help keep the glasses up on the face.

Tips for wear

  • Be persistent and patient. Your child may resist wearing their glasses at first because it feels different.
  • Older children may not wear glasses because they may be more concerned about their appearance. Point out any schoolmates, famous people, or relatives who wear glasses and that your child admires. Talk to siblings beforehand to discourage teasing.
  • If you have an infant or young child who takes the glasses off, put them back on and try their favorite distraction. In older children, encourage them to put the glasses back on and compliment how they look. Playing a game with your child when they wear their glasses may help.
  • Keep trying. It may take a few weeks or even longer for your child to get used to consistently wearing glasses.
  • An elastic head strap that attaches to the earpieces may also help keep glasses on if your child is active or athletic.
  • If your child is totally resistant to wearing glasses, call your eye specialist for further advice.