Adding accessories to pediatric dispensary is child's play

August 15, 2004

It’s sometimes challenging being a child who wears glasses, so a few cool accessories can turn the experience into a more enjoyable one.

In the world of pediatric dispensing, the products are similar (except for the reading glasses), but kids have special needs and very practical requirementsto make their eyeglass experience more enjoyable. Like eyewear, the accessory product has to be appealing to the parent as well as the child. I would like to share some of the products we have found to be helpful at Kid's Eyes, a dedicated pediatric dispensary.

Let's start with the basics. Leashes and straps are critical accessories. There are leashes for the littlest kids. They come in bright primary colors and have adjustable pulls with teddy bears and kitties.

There is also a multi-function strap, case, and cleaning cloth that are perfect for kids, who, in turn, have great fun showing their friends that it holds the glasses, cleans with microfiber fabric, and wraps around the frame to protect it like a case.

If you think the case isn't important, I can tell you that we have a line of frames that sells to girls from 7 to 12 years just because of the cute pink patent handbag case. Fortunately, the frame is one of high quality so they are getting more than just a pretty case.

Cases are supplied by many frame manufacturers, but we have found that kids like variety and choices. A collection of sturdy, interesting cases can make a great display. For little kids, we have bright cases with fish, birds, and butterflies.

The older girls love the little handbags and the very popular animal prints. Boys like cool flip tops and metallic cases as well as cases that have a belt clip.

Sunglasses for kids have to be safe and durable, and a wide selection of sizes and products will help to guarantee a satisfied child and parent. Many manufacturers of children's frames are now making clip-on sunglasses and kids love this grown-up look, but it is also necessary to explore how the child is using the eyewear.

We advise the parents and the kids that if they are involved in baseball, football, soccer, or other sports, that their dress eyewear is not appropriate for those sports. We keep a large selection of prescription sports glasses in a variety of sizes. We also stock plano in clear and sun, for the kid's siblings and those who wear contact lenses. Sometimes the whole family comes to the office so we keep plano sunwear in sizes from infants to teens. Polycarbonate sunwear is available even for infants, and they come in a great selection of colors and have straps instead of temples.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) offers a patient brochure called "Eye Safety for Children," that outlines the dangers of specific sports and the safety needs in eyewear. A printable copy is available at the academy's Web site ( http://www.aao.org/).

Also on the academy Web site is a section called "Eyeglasses for Infants and Children." Both of these references are great educational tools for our patients. Good educational materials in the office will help to reinforce the features of sports eyewear and sunglasses. Literature is also available from the lens manufacturers. With kids, it is also a good idea to provide printed instructions on care and handling, even if they already wear glasses.