Pediatric Ophthalmology Services by Pediatric Eye MD

Services for Children

glasses

My Child Needs Glasses?!?

In order to see things clearly, the front part of the eye (the cornea and lens) must focus a tiny picture of the object being looked at onto the back of the eye (the retina).  The cornea and lens create this tiny picture (the “image”) by assembling an infinite number of light rays.  If the image is not focused precisely on the retina, then the object is seen as a blur.   The lens in a pair of glasses (or a contact lens) puts the image into focus on the retina when the eye’s natural focusing system is not sufficient to do the job.

Glasses
1 = Cornea.  The clear tissue that makes up the front of the eye.   Normally clear, like glass, the cornea does 2/3 of the focusing work.
2 = Iris.  The colored part at the front of the eye; some are brown and some are blue.  The iris regulates the amount of light entering the eye.
3 = Natural Lens.  The lens does 1/3 of the focusing work. Until the age of 40 years, or so, the lens changes shape put things into focus.    Typically clear at birth, with age the lens becomes cloudy (opaque) – this is referred to as a  “cataract.”  
4 = Retina.  The lining of the inside of the eyeball.  The retina converts images (tiny pictures of real objects) into chemical, and then electrical, signals, which are then sent to the brain.  The brain processes these signals and makes sense of it all – vision occurs in the brain.

Answers to common myths about needing glasses

If my child uses her glasses all the time, she become dependent on themSure, just as you are dependent on listening to conversation at a volume greater than a whisper. While you could listen to people whispering all day long, wouldn’t this be hard to do? Isn’t it wonderful that people speak up so they can be heard? People who need glasses may be able to “get by” without their them, but it’s not easy – those who need them appreciate how much better they can see once they get used to their glasses.

Using glasses will weaken the eyes

Nonsense! The eyes will not “wear out” from using glasses anymore than the sense of hearing “wears out” from listening to things at a normal volume all day. Imagine if your parents had told everybody around you only to whisper so that your hearing wouldn’t “get weak.” Bet you wouldn’t have liked that! Why would you deprive your child of the ability to see clearly? Does the sense of smell, touch, or taste wear out from being used constantly? Why would the eyes? Sometimes, not wearing glasses can lead to vision loss (amblyopia).  

If my child needs glasses, does this mean that he has “weak eyes?

So long as the vision can be corrected to the normal range with glasses, then the eyes are not “weak.” When the structures of the eye are healthy and all that is needed is some help with putting things into focus, the eyes are considered healthy. Unfortunately, there are certain eye diseases where the vision cannot be improved to normal with glasses (or contact lenses).

The glasses should be worn only to see the board

Without question, children who need glasses to see things clearly should wear their glasses in order to see the board at school – it would be a shame for your child to do poorly in school because she couldn’t see the lessons and assignments. However, if your child needs glasses to see well, why wouldn’t you want her to see well all of the time? The glasses should be worn only to see the board. Without question, children with myopia who need glasses to see things clearly should wear their glasses in order to see the board at school – it would be a shame for your child to do poorly in school because she couldn’t see the lessons and assignments. However, if your child needs glasses to see well, why wouldn’t you want her to see well all of the time?

If my eyes are fine, then how did this happen?

Needing glasses is not anybody’s “fault.” But, if it makes you feel better, then you can always blame the other parent and their family (just kidding). Seriously, while there is some familial tendency for needing glasses, the genetics are not very clear-cut and it “just happens.”

My child should have her eyes examined every few months now

People with glasses should have a thorough eye exam once a year (or so) in order to make any adjustments in the glasses. If your child reports blurry vision before one year, however, then it may be necessary to make an adjustment in their prescription sooner. Sometimes the need for glasses diminishes over time – sometimes, children can “outgrow” the need for glasses.  It is not possible to accurately predict who will “outgrow” their glasses.