What to do if child refuses to wear glasses?

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There may be situations when a child simply refuses to wear glasses. There is no one correct solution on how to solve this kind of situation. The optician can act as a support in the situation, but the parents’ role is crucial.

Small children are usually easier

Usually, small children adapt to using glasses very quickly when they notice that glasses really help them to see. With young children, the opinions of friends do not play a role.

A pre-school child with glasses is not a very common sight, but the adults must remember not to wonder that to children. If a child is bullied because of glasses, parents must use their authority to prevent this.


It might be more difficult with school-aged

A school-aged child might have such a strong will that wearing glasses can be a real battle. Often, a child doesn’t want to wear glasses because no one else in the class wears them either. However, it would be extremely important that the child would wear the glasses at school at least. In the worst case, vision problems can lead to problems at school work.

Contact lenses are not the solution either, as the child and the eyes are still growing. Contact lenses can only be worn occasionally in sports, for example. There is a separate article At what age can one start using contact lenses about this issue.

An optician can make the situation easier by telling the child how great it is that glasses help to see and that they are not an awful thing to have. It may sometimes help a child to accept glasses, if a stranger such as an optician or an eye specialist tells why it is good to wear them.

The child should not, in any case, be given empty promises, such as, if the child wears the glasses for a year, they perhaps won’t be needed any more.

The most important factor is how the parents and close people react to glasses. If the parents think they are awful, the child will not love them either.

What if child wants glasses without a real need?

Sometimes, a child may want glasses even though there really isn’t a need for them. From my own experience, such a case could be a girl whose best friend has glasses.

In this case, a child may pretend that she cannot see anything in a sight test. If the child is faking, you notice it because the reactions and results do not match. The child may not see anything without lenses and when she is given lenses with no power, she can name all the marks from the board. The child thinks that this way she will get glasses she really wants.

What makes the situation challenging for the optician or the eye specialist, is for them to be able to notice if the faking is done on purpose, or if there is some kind of dysfunction in the brain. It’s good that these cases are very rare; I’ve only had a few in my career.

Please note that the advice and tips given in this blog are based on Finnish regulations and laws. Therefore, you need to verify the regulations and laws in your country from your own optician, optometrist or eye specialist.

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