Babies may need glasses if they are genetically nearsighted or farsighted, or have strong astigmatism, strabismus (eyes crossing), amblyopia (lazy eye), or vision problems related to prematurity. Vision problems can be diagnosed in young babies and prescriptions can be accurately measured with a special reflective instrument long before a child is old enough to cooperate with a conventional eye exam. When a baby needs glasses, it is sometimes a challenge for his parents to get him to wear them. With encouragement and positive reinforcement, a baby can adjust to wearing glasses as a normal part of his routine.
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Keep your attitude positive. It can be hard for a parent to adjust to a baby needing glasses, but it is important for your child to see only a positive response to the glasses from parents and other significant people in his life.
Help your baby identify with a parent, grandparent or other important person in his life who wears glasses. If you have the option, wear glasses rather than contact lenses so your baby can be just like you. Help your baby notice other children who wear glasses.
Choose glasses with cable temples that curl around the back of the baby's ears. These are harder to pull off than straight temples. Another option for babies is a strap around the back of the head in place of earpieces.
Select glasses that fit the baby properly. Resist the temptation to purchase glasses that your child will grow into later. Replace the glasses with larger ones as she grows.
Give your baby plenty of positive attention when he keeps the glasses on for even a short time when they are new.
Avoid overreacting when the baby pulls the glasses off. Put them back on without making a fuss so this does not become a game for him.
Make the glasses a regular part of the baby's routine. Put them on right away when she wakes up and take them off and put them in a safe place before she goes to bed.
Offer a toddler a reward system, such as a sticker chart, as an incentive to wear the glasses.
Read books about children who wear glasses and point them out in the illustrations. The Allen County Public Library website has a list of children's books about glasses.
Clean the glasses frequently. A baby is more likely to keep glasses on when they significantly improve his vision. It is hard for the baby to see when his glasses are dirty.
Tips and warnings
- Choose polycarbonate lenses for babies and children. These lenses are lightweight and resist breaking. Consider adding a scratch-resistant coating to the lenses.
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