Ophthalmic Lenses

Pediatric Lenses: Encourage Parents to Buy Best Possible Lenses for Children

Alan Glazier, OD Shady Grove Vision Care Rockville, Maryland

By prioritizing the health and comfort of children’s eyes, your practice can work with parents to help them provide children with the best possible lenses.

Sell Benefits in Terms of Child’s Prescription

In our practice, the first task when guiding parents toward the best lenses for their child is education. We explain to parents the features of the lenses the doctor prescribed for the child, pointing out the benefits they provide. For example, we educate parents about the importance of impact-resistant lenses that withstand an active child’s lifestyle. We point out to them two options in impact resistant lenses–Trivex and polycarbonate. Trivex is the superior of the two lenses.

Our goal is to put the child in the best lenses, so we emphasize the benefits of Trivex over polycarbonate: “Your child needs to be in impact-resistant lenses because they are under the age of 18. Your two choices are Trivex and polycarbonate. Trivex is better because it offers better visual clarity, while polycarbonate can cause distortions.” IWe then look at the child’s prescription to determine whether the possibility of those distortions will make a significant impact. If the child has a high astigmatism, we might point out: “It is especially important to put Sarah in Trivex lenses because, with her high astigmatism, she already has distortions in her visual field. Polycarbonate lenses will only make those distortions worse.”

Show the Difference

It also is important to let parents see for themselves the difference of a higher-quality lens. When educating parents about the benefits of anti-glare coating, for instance, we pick up eyeglasses off the frame board to show them all the light reflections the child will see if they are given lenses without anti-glare coating. IWe further illustrate the difference this lens treatment makes by explaining what happens when you take a picture of a child in eyeglasses lacking anti-glare: “When you take a picture of Sammy, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to see his eyes because of the light reflecting off the glasses. Children are very active, so it’s hard to ask them to pause and take off their glasses every time you want to take a picture.”

Use Stories to Improve Child’s Lenses

Once the parent understands a benefit such as anti-glare, and the role light reflections play in the child’s vision, we point out why Transitions lenses are essential. We do so by painting the picture of a typical child with an active lifestyle full of after-school sports and outdoor recess. “From what you’ve told me, Stacey loves the outdoors and is always running in and out of the house all year long. It would be hard for her to change back and forth between prescription eyeglasses and prescription sunwear. For that reason, we always like to provide children with Transitions lenses, which automatically adapt when in bright light to protect children’s eyes.”

If the parent is skeptical, and thinks Transitions is an unnecessary luxury, we educate them about the eye health impact of not having protection from ultraviolet light: “Eighty percent of damage done to the back of a person’s eyes happens before their 18th birthday. Just as you put sunscreen on Stacey’s skin, you need to provide sun protection for her eyes. Neglecting this protection could leave Stacey at greater risk for eye diseases like Macular Degeneration.

Help Parent Find Sensible Compromise, If Necessary

When we educate parents about the benefits of higher-quality lenses, most parents want to provide their child with the best possible eyewear. But the reality is not all of them can afford the ideal lenses. In these cases, we work with parents to prioritize the most important features to include in their child’s eyeglasses. For example, if a child has no astigmatism, and is simply myopic, we might advise that they choose polycarbonate lenses instead of spending additional money for higher-quality Trivex lenses.

While it is ideal to provide children with both anti-glare and Transitions lenses, Transitions is more important than anti-glare, so if they have to choose between the two, Transitions is the one to go with. We also work with parents to provide frames and lenses packages that help them give their child the best eyeglasses possible. We offer, for instance, a package of frames and polycarbonate lenses with anti-glare coating for 25 to 30 percent less than they would spend if purchasing the frames, lenses, and lens treatment separately.

Educating parents about the importance of high-quality lenses, and working with them to find the best option for their child–and their budget–will ensure that your children patients are provided with optimal vision and eye health protection.

Katie Wolford is an optician and certified paraoptometrist in the practice of Review of Optometric Business Professional Editor Carole Burns, OD, FAAO, in Westerville, Ohio. To contact her: kwolford@wolfordhome.com.

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