Choosing Polycarbonate Glasses for Children
Choosing glasses for a child is a tricky and emotional time for both parent and child. Fortunately eyeglasses have come a long way in recent years and now good looks and practicality go hand in hand. Eye health, safety and value for money are all considerations when choosing eyeglasses for a child and vision safety is paramount.
Polycarbonate lenses now offer the very highest degree of protection to take care of precious young eyesight. They were developed by the aerospace industry for use in helmet visors worn by astronauts. (Generally that super-cool nugget of information goes down well with reluctant school children!) Polycarbonate is also used for bulletproof windows, airplane windows and police riot shields, so a day at school should be a cake-walk for this material, which is 10 times more impact resistant than other plastics. Although your child should be taught how to care for eyeglasses, particularly when not being worn, chances are good that the lenses will withstand most challenges.
Usually when a material is good in one aspect, it has a compensating downside, but not polycarbonate. This super-strong material is lighter than standard plastic or glass, so even the thickest lenses are not too heavy on little noses. Fitted correctly, polycarbonate lens glasses will not slide down the nose as they are very lightweight. They are also about 20% thinner than other lenses which is important for attractive looks.
Polycarbonate is designed for rough and tumble play and is suitable for sports as it will not crack or shatter. Most eye care professionals recommend polycarbonate lenses for all children.
Polycarbonate lenses are also recommended for children who only have sight in one eye. With plain non-prescription lenses, polycarbonate glasses can give extra protection to the remaining sight in the good eye.
Polycarbonate is a natural UV filter which means that at least 99% of the harmful ultra-violet rays of the sun are blocked from entering the eye, even without the glasses having a special lens coating. This is considered particularly important as children generally spend more time outdoors than adults. Researchers believe that more than 80% of a person’s average exposure to UV light comes before the age of 18. Reducing UV rays to a minimum may pay dividends in the future as overexposure to ultraviolet light is thought to be a cause of cataracts and other eye conditions.
Scratch Resistant Coating
Although polycarbonate is shatterproof and crack-proof it is relatively soft to absorb impacts and can be scratched unless it is treated with a surface coating. When choosing your polycarbonate glasses, check that they come with a factory-applied scratch-resistant coating to ensure that they remain clear and serviceable for as long as possible. Teach your child to lay the glasses down on the upper edges of the frame, or fold the arms and prop the glasses up when not being worn. Whatever glasses are made of, they should never be placed lens-side down, as scratches will quickly become apparent right in the center of the lens. Consider taking out a warranty against scratched lenses until your child learns how to care for their glasses correctly all the time.
Polycarbonate Sunglasses for Children
If you are concerned about protecting your child’s eyes from harmful ultraviolet light from the sun’s rays, polycarbonate sunglasses are made to withstand all the rigors of childhood. One brand of these are called RKS Flex Sunglasses. They come in a choice of frame colors and have their own strap and protective case too. Fisher-Price has also gotten in on the act, producing their own funky polycarbonate lens sunglasses to fit even infants and toddlers, believing that you are never too young to wear protective sunglasses.
Where to Buy Polycarbonate Glasses
Although the internet has revolutionized shopping, buying eyeglasses online is not a good idea. You need to try a variety of frames to see what suits you best and you need the glasses to be properly fitted by a professional eye specialist who can alter the shape of the arms to ensure a comfortable, snug fit. Accurate pupillary distance measurements need to be taken to ensure a proper fit.
Although polycarbonate eyeglasses may initially cost a little more than alternative materials, they are made to be durable and should last until your child needs a new prescription, which hopefully won't be for several years down the line. Eyeglasses which are cheaper initially may not last as well, making them a poor bargain. They also may not be as strong, safe and protective as polycarbonate lens in case of an impact. Fortunately with most vision insurances, polycarbonate lenses are usually covered in full since it is necessary by law to fit any child under the age of 18 in polycarbonate lenses.
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