One day, your kid comes home from school with a note. They had the annual simple eye sight test and the person running it has recommended contacting an eye professional for a more thorough exam. Your child at first thinks it is just something to forget about. But you know better. While getting a referral for the best place to make an appointment for, you begin to wonder about the path you are both on now. You have the most experience with your child and how they deal with things, so you probably already have an idea where you are headed.
The Stages of Accepting Eyeglasses
My Own Journey to Accepting Eyeglasses
I know from my own experience as a child who required glasses that it wasn't even something I was aware of, much less something I absolutely needed. I had made it all the way to middle school oblivious to the fact that I had vision issues. I would commonly sit a foot from the television to make out the screen and was constantly burying my face in a book to read. At school, squinting to read the chalkboard was just the normal way of seeing it, to me. I really had no clue, I thought my eyesight was fine. Little did I know.
Once I was told that my school eye exam recommended I see an eye doctor, I was quick to shrug it off as an exaggeration by the nurse. And I went to the appointment and sat through the exam feeling like it was all for nothing. I didn't want to be some four-eyed dork. Heck, I was absolutely positive I didn't even need them.
But once the glasses had come in and I went back to try them on and get them fitted, I was instantaneously astounded by the vibrant world around me. I recall the carpet had such intricate detail that I sat there, staring at it's patterns and colors. Suddenly people's faces had features I could make out. Not to sound hyperbolic, but the world around me came to life. I was literally stunned.
While my exact experience is unique to myself, I am sure the broad strokes it paints hit chords with many out there who began wearing glasses as children themselves. We all go through a period of adjustment, and then can't imagine ever going back to a life before our glasses were a vital part of it.
The Five Steps to Accepting Eyeglasses
There are an accepted five steps that most, but not all, children may go through when confronted with the prospect of a life behind prescription lenses. It may all begin with the mere disbelief that they even really need glasses. They've somehow made it this far without them, why would they all of a sudden need to wear them now?
Refusing to Believe They Need Glasses
This can be followed by a refusal, of varying degrees, of accepting this need to wear glasses. "Those dumb things are for someone else," a child may think. The bookworm, the geek or the computer nerd are the ones who need them and even like them, not your previously perfect self.
Resisting to Wear or be Examined for Eyeglasses
Moving on past this, some kids may even try to find a way to avoid going further in the process, by cheating at the eye exam or fighting about even going to it. Or once they have their new glasses, they may be constantly leaving them behind, attempting to prove they aren't needed, even at their own detriment.
Getting Comfortable with Always Wearing Glasses
After then being either forced to continue to wear their new specs or grudgingly accepting their eyesight is in fact better with them on, kids may have difficulties getting used to wearing them. This can happen in ways like constantly forgetting or misplacing them, or in just reaching a level of comfort in wearing them that works best for their use.
Accepting That Eyeglasses Improves Their Life
Finally, once the glasses fit comfortably and become a commonplace accessory of their daily lives, they will move into an almost imperceptible acceptance of this new item as a part of their world. What was a struggle to adjust to becomes the new normal, and life moves on.
The Journey May be Difficult, but It's Worth It
While the journey will be different for each child and their parent, it is one that can offer some hurdles and moments where you will look for help to guide you both. Contacting us or discussing the situation with your eye care professional can help, and they can offer their experience and guidance, you have other resources at your disposal, as well.
For one, the vast reaches of the internet. There are websites like ours that offer help, advice and steps you can take to help your child maneuver through all they are feeling and dealing with as they come to grips with being one of the millions of kids who just happen to need glasses.
From some of these online sites, you can also find various books that you can either purchase or check out from the library that can also offer help. Books about character going through the same experiences as your child vary in age ranges, so there is surely something to suit your child and make them feel like they aren't the one and only person to go through this event, even though it may feel like it to them.
Take advantage of friends and family members, as well. Many people you know have their own experiences, as I did above. Let your child hear from them and learn that while it will be a change, it will be a change for the better and they will enjoy more out of their life and the experiences they will now be able to appreciate in crystal clear clarity!
Be Patient, New Habits Take Time
Be patient and give them whatever time frame (no pun intended) they need to adjust to not only remember to wear their glasses, but in getting used to caring for them. And try to acknowledge they may have push back, whether it comes from their misconceptions about what it means to wear glasses or from real or perceived peer pressure. What their friends say carries a lot of weight, especially going into the teen years. Just be there for them and to reinforce the truth that glasses are there for their benefit. In time, they will come to appreciate this as much as their better focused eyesight itself.