Finding the right frame styles for children

July 15, 2014

Maintaining both parents’ and children’s happiness when choosing pediatric eyewear requires a balancing act, supported by the physician and clinic staff.

 

Take Home

Maintaining both parents’ and children’s happiness when choosing pediatric eyewear requires a balancing act, supported by the physician and clinic staff.

 

 

By Rose Schneider, Content Specialist, Ophthalmology Times

When it comes time for a child who requires eyeglasses to pick out frames, the process can be tricky if the child’s idea of what he or she wants differs from that of the parents. While the child may find a pink frame designed with Minnie Mouse as the perfect fit, his or her parents may feel more comfortable with a more conservative option.

The key is to find a balance between parent and child so that everyone walks away happy, said Penn Moody, OD.

“Our approach is not much different [from that] with older children,” said Dr. Moody, founder and chief executive officer of Moody Eyes, Indianapolis. “It is a collaborative effort between the doctor, staff, the parents, and the child-not necessarily in that order.

“We have parents who will let the children select their frames, we have parents who totally dominate their children’s choices, and we have everything in between,” he added.

 

Where to begin

The best starting point for the physician, Dr. Moody said, is to recommend the prescription and explain why the child needs it. The clinic’s staff should then find out which style the child and/or the parents find most suitable.

Lisa Frye, ABOC, said the most appropriate way to approach this process is to find out the necessary information from the child and parents separately. Then, once everyone is together, the optician can relay what was discussed.

“This can help direct the process, as the communication is shared,” said Frye, a longstanding Fellow of the National Academy of Opticians and who has more than 30 years of experience in optometric management.

Approaching budget limitations should be the next step, Frye said.

Having a discussion about financing the eyeglasses and insurance is important, because it creates a pathway to understand what the parents are comfortable with, she said.

“This allows me to find out what the parents are most concerned about, whether there is a budget, and if the parents have worn eyewear and understand the process,” Frye said. “In the case that the child is getting a first pair of glasses and no one in the family wears spectacles, then I take the time to education them on lens materials, options, and performance.”

Dr. Moody added that he usually approaches the issue of frame cost while the parents and child are browsing through options.

“We do not ask budget questions at first because it focuses the conversation on ‘how much’ versus ‘what is best,’” he said.

 

Involving the child is a must

The most important aspect to keep in mind while finding the correct frame is to keep the child highly involved in the process.

“We always involve the child in all parts of the eye-care process/experience,” Dr. Moody said. “We believe they are more likely to wear them if they are involved, (and) we also want them to start to get involved with their health care at an early age.”

Frye said that at her office, she utilizes two approaches to engage the child in the frame process.

“If the parent has indicated they are very open to allow the child to have a lot of say in the process, then I walk the child to our children’s area, and I have a tray that holds several pairs of glasses,” she explained. “We have mirrors at appropriate heights for easy access by a child. I encourage them to try on frames and we start the process of discovering their tastes and preferences.

“As they try on the frames, I will get feedback from parents as well,” she continued. “I offer advice on the fit and make sure the finished product will service them well, (and) . . . once we have at least three fames in that tray, I walk them back to the dispensing table and we go through the frames to eliminate choices until there is only one frame left.”

As for her second approach, Frye said she will take more control by listening to what the parents and child are saying, and then finding the frames herself.

“(I leave) the child and the parent at the dispensing table, listening to what the parent and the child are sharing, and (then go) and (place) frames into my tray that will fit well, keeping in the guidelines that were established through the communication,” she said.

Frye said she will listen to the parents’ and the child’s taste, style, material, type, and budget when selecting frames.

“We always discuss with parents that the child is more likely to enjoy wearing something that they like and helped to choose,” she added.

 

Handling the awkward times

Nevertheless, awkward moments between family members are bound to happen, Frye said.

“Even with the best of intentions, there can be awkward moments,” she explained. “If a parent and a child differ over something, I usually afford them some privacy and step away for them to have a moment to concur.”

If there is a disagreement, Frye recommended suggesting the child come back when they are not dilated to give the family more discussion time.

“I have on a rare occasion suggested they come back when the child is not dilated as an out for them to have time to perhaps get the child used to the idea of corrective eyewear or which direction to take in the selection process,” she said.

The bottom line in keeping the child and parents happy during the decision-making phase, Frye said, is to stay in charge.

“Staying in charge, as the expert, when walking through the frame-selection process allows us to keep the child from being overwhelmed and can help merge the required budget and frame preferences to please both child and parents,” she said.

 

Lisa Frye, ABOC

E: fryegang@yahoo.com

Frye has no financial interest in the subject matter.

 

Penn Moody, OD

E: penn@moodyeyes.com

Dr. Moody has no financial interest in the subject matter.