Long gone are the days when wearing glasses meant stumbling around in unwieldy, massive and massively uncool coke bottle glasses. Kids glasses have come a long way, with a variety of sleek designs and offbeat patterns to choose from. And once you have your child’s prescription in hand, it’s easy (and in this age of social distancing, preferable) to order kids glasses online. Kids prescription glasses run the gamut from the basic to the funky to the ultra-stylish, and if you’re got a budding Serena or LeBron at home, sports glasses for kids are virtually unbreakable.
But first, you’ll want to take your child to get an eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist to determine if your kid is nearsighted or farsighted, or needs some other correction. And make sure to get your child’s PD (pupillary distance), the distance between the centers of the pupils, which is best measured in person to get it right. The wrong PD can cause eye strain, and you’ll need the PD to order glasses online.
Unless your doctor says otherwise, polycarbonate (shatter-proof) lenses are the only type of lenses you should choose because they won’t shatter into tiny pieces if they break. Plus, they have built-in UV protection to block out harmful rays and come with an anti-scratch coating, so they’ll last longer, per the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus.
“They should get two pairs of glasses because kids lose glasses or forget them or sit on them,” says Dr. Anita Juvvadi, a pediatrician at Stanford Children’s Health. “Most of all, make sure the glasses fit properly. The kid should be looking through the center of the lens at all times. As for the shape, it doesn’t matter. Go ahead and get creative.”
Now, the fun part: picking out the frames, which kids can try on using a virtual “fitting room” app; other brands, like Jonas Paul, offer free home try-ons. When choosing frames, make sure you take the time to have them sized properly. If glasses aren’t comfortable, feel too tight, or if they slip down, kids won’t wear them. The frame should be aligned correctly on your child’s face. And lastly, a pro tip: Let your child pick the glasses they want (within reason). They’ll be much more likely to wear them.
In terms of insurance, most sites do not accept it, so check before you buy. If you order glasses from any of the retailers on our list, with the exception of Lenscrafters, you will need to pay for anything up-front and apply to your own insurance company to be reimbursed by submitting the receipt and any corresponding paperwork. You can, however, generally use flexible spending accounts (FSA) or health savings accounts (HSA) to buy prescription eyewear or sunglasses.
The Best Glasses for Toddlers
Edgy and cool, they're not. But durable? You bet. They don't have any screws, pads or hinges. The metal-free glasses have an anatomical bridge and elastic strap to help them stay put on where they belong. They're also ridiculously lightweight and comfortable, and perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Because this retailer is an out-of-network provider for most insurance plans, you'll need to fill out out an out-of-network reimbursement form, include the receipt, and get reimbursed.
These bendable frames are virtually unbreakable, making them ideal for very young kids. There's a strap that wraps around the head, so they won't get lost. Each pair is made from a single piece of soft, flexible TR90 plastic, with no hinges or metal parts. Zenni does not accept insurance, so as with the above, you need to apply for reimbursement.
The Best Glasses for Kids
Based on the premise that kids' glasses should reflect their personality, this brand specializes in offbeat styles like the above. That's part of Pair's Harry Potter collaboration; there's also one for Marvel fans. If you'd rather go for something more basic, the selection of frame colors is staggering. You choose your base frames, with prescription lenses, and then add on magnetic toppers that kids can swap out nonstop, depending on their mood. Instead of entering your prescription, you can upload a photo of it, which makes things easier. The brand sells glasses for kids five and older. Pair does not accept insurance; you need to get reimbursed.
Think of these as farm-to-table glasses: EyeBuyDirect does everything entirely in-house. That includes design, manufacturing, and sales. And that means a huge selection, and very low prices. You can upload a photo and 'try on' glasses, to see which pair fits your child's face the best. This brand is geared for kids 6 and older, because there aren't options for babies and toddlers; as with the others on this list, it does not accept insurance.
No, that's not a typo in the price. San Francisco-based Zenni really is that cheap. The site lets you sort by frame shape or category; it also has a slew of instructional videos online. You can use your camera to do a virtual fitting to make sure you love the glasses. New customers enter in their current prescription and (PD) and you're off to the races. The selection is stellar, and there are some fantastic sports options as well.
If you're after name brands, LensCrafters is the way to go. Choose from Ray-Bans, Polo, or Oakleys, among others, for your littles. That's reflect in the prices, which are notably higher. You choose the frames, lenses, and lens thickness, and you're done. There's no virtual fitting room here. But Lenscrafters does accept most vision insurance plans online, which is a huge, huge bonus.
This fashion-forward brand sells frames for kids 4 and up, and has a truly great offering for teens. You can turn any prescription frames into Rx sunglasses or glasses that filter blue light. And what's really great is that for $1, you can get seven frames sent to you, for seven days, to try on at home, making it much easier to guarantee that your kid will like what you end up with. They usually have a BOGO half-off sale going on. One word of caution: The customer service here leaves a lot to be desired, so don't expect a prompt response.
The Best Sports Glasses for Kids
These sport goggles fare made with polycarbonate rims and bridge for safety; there's an elastic straps that wraps around the head to keep the glasses in place while kids run or jump or kick the ball. And to prevent slippage, there's a silicone nose pad.
The sports goggles have an adjustable Velcro head strap, soft temple and nose paddings, and a raised rear bevel to keep the lenses in place. GlassesUSA.com is an out-of-network provider for most vision insurance plans, which means you'll need to get reimbursed.
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