Thursday, July 26, 2007

Foresight Is 20/20

Adults choose eye-glasses based mostly on fit and style. But kids' glasses have to withstand the abuses of tree climbing, the playground and boisterous games of tag. For kids younger than 10, David Coats, an ophthalmologist at Houston's Texas Children's Hospital, recommends frames made of plastic, because they're "more likely to withstand a blunt force." Choose clear, impact-resistant lenses made of Trivex ($70 to $150) or polycarbonate ($50 to $100), which also have the bonus of providing 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Stuart Danker, a pediatric ophthalmologist from Baltimore, also recommends photochromic lenses that darken in the sun and clear up in the shade ($65 to $90;

Pay attention to fit. Anything too big or too heavy can slide down and leave the child looking through the wrong part of the lens. Kids' heads are shaped differently from adults', and a good optician will make sure the glasses fit at three crucial points: the widest part of the face (it should match the width of the glasses), along the nose (a child's nose bridge is flatter than an adult's, and uneven weight distribution can affect nose development) and behind the ears (the frames should point straight back and wrap gently around the ear without pressing into the head). Now they can focus on fun.

By Charlene Dy


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