By Sophie Koh

Parents will be pleasantly surprised to see how quickly kids can embrace glasses. Thanks to the increase of positive role models showcasing prescription glasses, there is now an air of excitement when kids pick up a pair from their local optometrist.

This is because children often look to pop culture and the media for guidance on social norms. Today, leading children’s characters and celebrities such as Harry Potter, Amaya from PJ Masks and Ed Sheeran influence perceptions of glasses and shape fashion trends.

The popularity of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter proved this to be true. Growing up with glasses herself and tired of the dated “Hollywood hero”, J.K. Rowling set about creating a loveable character whose identity was closely linked to his glasses.

By creating a character so identifiable by his circular frames, children began to embrace glasses in a new and positive way.

Harry Potter wouldn’t be Harry Potter without his round, wire-rimmed glasses.

Today, kids that have been prescribed glasses are often more accepting and excited to wear them, with many wanting to emulate Harry Potter.

This positive attitude change allows children with shortsightedness (myopia), longsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism to feel more comfortable with glasses.

While Harry Potter’s style may not be for every child, the resulting acceptance or ‘cool’ of glasses has certainly opened the door to exploring the many options, and vision solutions, available.

Kids are more likely to want to wear their glasses if they see a cool character, like Harry Potter, wearing them.

Does your little one need glasses? Below are a few quick tips for parents to help their children feel comfortable in their new frames.

  • Let your child pick their own style of glasses. This goes a long way in encouraging your child to actively want to wear them. Not only are there many shapes and sizes, glasses come in a range of colours so there’s always something to match their unique personalities and suit even the fussiest of children.
  • Make it exciting! Relate glasses to their favourite activities. If they like reading, explain that glasses will help them read for longer, or if they prefer nature, explain that glasses will allow them to see birds and trees.
  • Bring out the stars. Show your child some of their heroes or favourite celebrities that wear glasses to show them it’s completely normal for anyone.
  • Finally, be patient. Getting used to glasses can take time, but eventually they’ll become part of your child’s daily routine.

If your child needs glasses, they will be more likely to wear them if they can pick them.

So how and where should your child get their next pair of glasses?

Taking children for an eye exam before starting school and regularly (every two to three years) as they progress through primary and secondary school is essential, as vision problems can develop and significantly impact your child’s ability to learn.

According to Optometry Australia’s 2020 Vision Index, almost four in five Australian parents believe their child has great eyesight; however, alarmingly less than one in four Australian parents (30%) have never taken their child to an optometrist for an eye examination.

As well as checking your child’s eye health, optometrists conduct a thorough eye exam that includes checking for shortsightedness, longsightedness, astigmatism and how their two eyes coordinate.  If your child needs glasses, optometrist will prescribe a suitable lens strength for your child, and can also help them pick out a pair of frames they’ll love.

Parents can visit Good Vision For Life to find their local optometrist.

Sophie Koh is the National Professional Services Advisor for Optometry Australia.