i’ve shared a lot on instagram that arlo is not great with big transitions, but it’s been surprisingly painless to get him to wear his glasses since the doctor recommended he wear them all day everyday. the biggest reason is probably that he sees so much better with them on, so of course he would like that, but it really only took a couple days for the habit to kick in and now he asks for them if they’re not on!
i got asked a lot about how we knew needed them, etc. so i thought this post would help anyone going through the same thing and to encourage anyone who thinks their kid might have vision issues to get them checked out. it can’t hurt!!
how we found out he needed glasses
we had to change health insurance and sadly our pediatrician that we loved didn’t accept our new insurance– SOOO we went to a new one who had this fancy vision test machine that they used super quickly at his checkup. after the appointment she called and said that arlo might have astigmatism and we should bring him to an ophthalmologist.
at the first appointment with the ophthalmologist, she could tell that he was having trouble with some of the eye charts but it’s really hard to tell with little kids whether they’re just losing steam or what they really can’t see. but she was pretty sure he would need to wear glasses.
so she had us dilate his eyes and come back a while later. this was so upsetting. we had to hold him down and put the drops in his eyes and oh man i hate doing that stuff, but we did it and we put a hat and sunglasses on him for the drive and she was able to diagnose his exact prescription.
they only started looking at little kids eyes this early in recent years because they found out that if they catch it early enough, he could potentially wear the glasses for a few years and his astigmatism could correct itself.
lots of warning and talking about it
for anything new, we ALWAYS talk about it a lot. whether it’s going back to preschool or just driving through a carwash for the first time– he always handles new things way better when he knows what to expect. there is literally a daniel tiger song for every toddler situation soooo “when we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do” so true daniel tiger so true.
so prior to the eye doctor, we talked about it a lot. he didn’t want to go but he also wasn’t blindsided. same for the second appointment, which he was less upset about since he knew the first time was sort of fun (she has lots of toys that sing and dance and one of those old school dvd players he’s never seen haha). but he was not stoked about the dilation.
so same thing, when we found out he would need glasses, we just talked about it a lot. i think it helped that i wear glasses to watch tv and work so he wouldn’t be the only one in them– if you don’t wear glasses, maybe get some blue blockers for solidarity.
prior to getting them, we just would casually mention “when you get your glasses, you’ll be wearing them everyday”, just things like that to really get him to understand it would be happening.
books/shows/characters with glasses
we happened to have the book “arlo needs glasses” since he was a baby, definitely feels serendipitous that he ended up needing them haha. i think it really helps for them to see lots of other people or characters wearing glasses so they don’t feel like the only ones.
not to be heavy handed, but anytime i saw a character with glasses i would point it out– “arlo look! he’s wearing glasses!” and he enjoys noticing too. the two things we happen to watch right now both have a character with glasses (prince wednesday on daniel tiger and randall briefly in monsters university– ps i wish he kept the glasses on longer in that movie because he looked so cute haha)
so i think it’s super helpful to see glasses as much as you can prior and get a book or two about glasses. sadly the one we have “arlo needs glasses” might be out of print, but i found some other cute ones.
letting him pick the pairs
we ended up getting glasses from an optometrist as well as two pairs online. i knew i didn’t want him to wear the goggle ones just from a style standpoint, but was hoping he was old enough to wear regular glasses. the goggle ones are not only durable but they’re also good because they stay on and don’t fall down their nose, which is what they need for corrective lenses– for them to be up close to their eyes all the time. arlos “cool” glasses do fall a little bit but he’s gotten really good at pushing them back up. theres a chance we may get a strap but not sure if that would help that or not.
he’s pretty careful and so far he’s done pretty much fine with them. (but we got three pairs in case) we haven’t gone back for our follow up appointment at the ophthalmologist yet so hopefully she doesn’t hate the ones we chose :/
the pairs online are from jonas paul and it was really nice because they sent an at home try on kit so he could try them on and see what he liked on his own time. they send 5 pairs for free, as well as a size guide to help you figure out their pupillary distance. we got the “paul” in clear and grapefruit. their glasses come with arms that adjust behind their ears so that they can be fitted for them.
the dr was pretty adamant about getting his glasses in person, so we still brought him to the optometrist and picked these ones out. we had the optometrist determine arlo’s PD which seemed more accurate than we could do.
making a routine of it
since toddlers love routine, make it a routine. as soon as arlo wakes up in the morning, i put his glasses on immediately. he wears them all the time besides bedtime. at night when we brush his teeth, we also wash his glasses with soap and water, and put them back in the same basket on his cabinet every night.
it’s only been a little while but he’s already so used to wearing them that at preschool he woke up from his nap and was like “hey teacher can you put my glasses on?” haha
giving him breaks
the first week was a struggle for him. now he knows his eyes see better with the glasses so he likes having them on, but when his eyes (and face) were getting used to it, he requested a lot of breaks, or in the morning before i put them on he’d be like set a timer and THEN put them on. so we took it slow and set timers and gave him breaks. it only took him a little while to stop asking.
i think once they notice how much easier it is to see well they prefer it, but that’s for a 3.5 year old. it might be harder for a younger kid to recognize the difference?
encouraging friends and family to encourage him
the ophthalmologist really stressed how important it was to have everyone be SO encouraging. to tell him how cool and cute he looked, versus anything that could err on the side of criticism whatsoever. kids are so insecure so this is crucial. every time a relative saw him they’d be like “ARLO I LOVE YOUR GLASSES YOU LOOK SO COOL!” etc and i think it made him feel really good. keep it SUPER SUPER POSITIVE.
having to wear a mask with glasses
this is such a hard time to not only learn to wear glasses, but also having to wear a mask. it’s a lot for a 3.5 year old and i feel for him. he’s great about wearing both, but he does get foggy. so i’ve noticed if i put his mask up really high on his nose it helps avoid the fogging a bit.
when i found out he would need glasses, i was sad because i felt bad that he had such a hard time seeing and i had no idea. and i didn’t know what to expect about how he would look, but MAN I AM OBSESSED. i just stare at him all the time with his giant magnified eyes and i just can’t handle the cuteness!!!
PHEW ok that was long, was not expecting to talk so much but i clearly had a lot to say!
also found some more cute pairs of kids glasses for you!