The Kids are Alright

By Shan Khan

With childhood myopia rates spiking globally, the market for children’s eyewear continues to grow, making this segment an increasingly important part of many eyewear galleries. Yet many of us remain unclear about how to meet the specific eye care needs of our younger clients and how to benefit from the business opportunity they represent.

Here are a few key points to remember as children and their parents shop for eyewear this back-to-school season:

Get the Right Fit

Because they are still growing, children should not wear adult frames – in fact, appropriate eyewear sizing is essential to achieving optimal vision correction. Most kids’ frames are much narrower than adult glasses to accommodate closer pupillary distance and have shorter arms to hit the correct spot behind the wearer’s ear.

Eyewear appropriately sized for smaller features will prevent frames from sliding down the nose. This helps to avoid unnecessary eye strain by ensuring that the child is seeing through the right part of the corrective lens. Kids may also need frequent adjustments after their glasses become misaligned, even if they were well fitted to begin with.

Give Them the Right Equipment

Kids lead busy lives, often participating in a wide range of outdoor and indoor activities. As a result, they may require multiple pairs of situation-specific glasses that are both practical and fashionable. 

Task glasses treated with anti-glare and scratch-resistant coatings for the classroom and another pair with blue light filtering for up-close online activities may be necessary. Sunglasses or photochromic lenses are vital to protecting their eyes from harmful ultraviolet light when they are outside. And finally, consider offering specialized protective eyewear to help prevent injury during higher risk sports or activities. Take the time to help them plan an eyewear wardrobe for maximum function — as well as fashion.

Style Matters – But so Does Quality

When it comes to fashion kids often know what they like, and much like their adult counterparts, they want their eyewear to reflect their personality and personal style. Younger kids may be drawn to colourful or sparkly options, while teens may prefer designer frames or looks that mimic adult designs.

At the same time, kids can be hard on their frames. They tend to remove and replace them frequently and can be forgetful about proper handling and storage. For these reasons, flexible or screwless frame hinges and lightweight, durable lenses are ideal for kids’ glasses.

Here are a few suppliers with dedicated collections to appeal to children and teens:

Etnia Barcelona

Etnia Barcelona’s fashion-forward eyewear collection is designed to help wearers showcase their personal style. Collections are inspired by art and the city of Barcelona. The hand-finished frames feature unique and colourful designs made from premium acetate.

Eyelet

French eyewear firm Eyelet offers three kids’ collections designed specifically to “withstand extreme and careless handling, combining stability, comfort resistance, colour and style.” The company’s patented hinge system is designed to help glasses remain firmly balanced on the wearer’s face. Eyelet SunPlus sunglass clips, meanwhile, are a highly adaptable, cost-effective way to protect children’s eyes from harmful UV rays. The foldable shades stretch to firmly fit a variety of frames and styles – the perfect solution for active kids.

Marchon

While kids can’t wear adult glasses, they may be drawn to a more grown-up look in a scaled-down version that mimics adult frames. Marchon offers Lacoste mini-me sunglasses, for example, that reflect their adult version’s shape and dynamic, sporty allure.

OGI Kids

OGI Kids features durable, handcrafted frames made from the highest quality acrylics and metals designed to stand the strain of recess, gym class, and offer a lasting comfort that’s essential with all the screen time children have today with distance learning.

Superflex Kids by Westgroupe

Superflex® KIDS frames are constructed with spring hinges for extra durability, comfort and fit. While form and function always come first, great colours and funky temple detailing make this collection a fun fashion statement for kids of all ages. Frame materials include stainless steel and hand-made acetate.

Top Tips for Success with Kids

Some younger clients may not be excited about the prospect of wearing glasses, but there are several ways to put them at ease during their appointment. Here are a few strategies that work:

  1. Kids and teens want to know that the glasses they will wear are current and fashionable. Reassure them by creating a well-stocked section for them with a large range of well-known brands and independent designs scaled for their size.
  2. Help them find inspiration by asking about frame designs worn by family, friends and celebrities they admire. A few more questions about their personal style and activities will help you narrow down options for one or multiple pairs.
  3. Involve them in the process. Kids will feel better about wearing glasses if they are empowered to choose the pair that suits them best. Make it clear to parents that you will speak directly to their child during the appointment. Take pictures with a tablet device to help them compare various looks.
  4. Show them how to clean their glasses and store them properly when they are not wearing them – if they are not on their face, they’re in the case!

Check out the July-August issue of Optik for Shan’s full article!

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