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My kid needs glasses!

I started wearing glasses at a very young age, as did my husband.  We are preparing ourselves for children, who inherit our genes and who will need glasses at some point.  Some mamas are already there.  Emails an urbanMama:

My four year old needs glasses.  The optician shop associated with his pediatric opthalmologist doesn't have a very wide selection of kids frames, and I'd really like something that looks cute on him, rather than just serviceable.  Does anyone have any recommendations for eyeglass stores that stock a good collection of kids' frames?   (Friendly and knowledgeable staff would be a plus!)

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I'm pleasantly surprised by the Costco selection, price and service. They were very nice indeed.

I have found the smaller boutique-type shops have the best adult selections, but often lack in selections for kids (which I understand--supply and demand). I've had good luck at Binyons in Lloyd Center for my daughter, and they do fine in the friendly department. I'm not so sure about the knowledgeable, though. That can be hit or miss.

Binyons at the Vancouver Mall has one of the best selections of kids' glasses. My 7 year old is small for her age so we needed to find glasses that would fit most 4 year olds. Costco and Lloyd Center Binyons only had one or two pair each that might fit her. The selection was much better at the Vancouver store.

You also get two pair for $100 - not the dilly deluxe lenses like I get for mysel but great for a kid's first pair. Costco wanted $100 for one pair - granted the lenses were the dilly deluxe ones but I don't find those to be necessary for a kid's first pair. Their prescription may or may not change a lot in the first few years so I find it hard to invest a lot in glasses early on. Plus they lose them, scratch them, etc. I remember my mother mortification as she watch a pair of my brother's glasses be swept away by ocean waves.

My son has had glasses since he was six months old (he is now five) and we have been to numerous eye glass shops for glasses. I feel that the best around is Crown Optical on E Burnside (right by Whole Foods). I like going there because it is a local store and they have a good selection. Their prices are also one of the best I have seen.

Myself and other frugal mamas I know have had GREAT luck with www.zennioptical.com. It's very easy to order your frames/lenses once you have your prescription info. Prices start at around $8/pair (!). If I remember right, it was about another $5 for anti-glare coating, and shipping was another $5 (for as many pairs as you want to order). No complaints about the glasses either! There are lots of kid choices there.

Go with Zenni!

We go to Beaumont Family Vision on Fremont. They are wonderful and have a great selection of kids glasses.

They are a bit on the spendy side, but the convenience factor for me is huge. We go to the Casey Eye Institute at OHSU and use the optical shop there. They have a great selection of kid’s glasses and this way I can take them in to be adjusted whenever we have an eye appointment. Barb is great with my daughter and has fixed all parts for free (they came with a one-year warranty) so far. My insurance includes vision and glasses every two years so I am hoping nothing bad happens in the next 12 months. I’m not sure I would pay full retail there, though.

Since we're on the topic of glasses, at what age do you take your child for an eye exam? For those mamas whose kids needed glasses, when and how did you know they needed them?

We used Beaumont Family Vision during June for my daughter. Loved the doctor, loved the staff, but found the selection to be a bit lacking for smaller faces--and my daughter, at nearly 12, did have the option at looking at smaller adult frames, which a younger child would most likely not. I also found the selection to be expensive, especially in comparison to "big box" places like Binyons, etc. I spent a lot more out-of-pocket than I expected, and that was with pretty decent vision coverage.

Lee:
I got a referral from my daughter's pediatrician before she was even 3 because I noticed her eyes not working together. She would look at me and one pupil would be straight ahead and the other was completely in the corner of her eye. She has a condition called strabismus (aka lazy eye) so glasses help her eyes work together. Another thing that can develop because of the “lazy eye” is amblyopia (don’t you love these names?) which is a deterioration of the vision in one eye. Since it’s harder to focus in the eye that wanders they just stop using it; if it’s not corrected at some point it can lead to a permanent loss of depth perception and even blindness in that eye. My Dad had it and it was never corrected and he has always had depth perception and vision issues in one eye. Good luck.

Lee:

We found out at the 5-year-old well-child checkup that our daughter can hardly see at all out of one eye. We had no idea. We haven't yet had the opthalmology appointment, but it looks like it's amblyopia (eye patch ahoy!). The doctor (Kaiser) said they don't usually do the eye test for 5-year-olds unless the kid seems to be articulate and compliant enough to handle it. If you have any reason to believe your kid might have vision problems, you should definitely ask. If they hadn't done the test, I think we'd easily have gone another year without noticing, and this kind of thing does get worse without correction.

I had already scheduled an appointment with the eye doctor because eye problems run rampant in my family. The week of my son's appointment I met with his teacher and she was saying he seemed to have a difficult time focusing on his indiviual work(he is in kindergarten). I read up on learning related problems(lazy eye is on his dad's side of the family and he also seemed to have trouble looking anyone in the eye even when he wasn't in trouble) So it wasn't really a surprise when the dr. said he needed glasses.

The important thing is if YOU feel their is something wrong with your child's vision take them somewhere. Many Pediatric eye dr.'s work with children as young as one year! You know your child better than anyone! The younger these problems are caught the better it will help their eyesight in years to come. If you have a family history of eyesight problems like my son and I have please take your child!

My son never complained of problems while working he would try get frustrated and give up. We thought it was because he was still adjusting to school life or was dealing with other things going on in his life. Sometimes you have to pay more attention to your child because they think their eyesight is normal and don't realize they shouldn't have to try so hard to see.

My motto "Better safe than sorry!" I would rather take them and find nothing wrong than not take them and there be a serious problem!

Hope that helped!

He/she should see an optician asap for a smooth process.

Consult an optometrist first and see the eye test results to know what's best for your kid.

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