Considering how poor mine and my husband’s eyesight is, it’s a wonder our kiddos don’t need glasses yet. There are many infants and toddlers out there who do need glasses, though. If your child is one of them, guest blogger Sara Roberts has some tips for saving money on them.
If your baby or toddler has vision problems, it’s not easy to keep them in glasses. Not only is it difficult to find frames and lenses that fit them properly and stay put, but it’s also expensive to continually replace their glasses when they’re growing so fast. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect glasses for your baby while saving money, too.
What you should look for when buying glasses for your baby?
- Durability–Because your child is so young, he or she will have no sense of responsibility for their glasses. Babies just want to explore their world – crawling, walking, and running – so their glasses need to be extremely durable. Look for glasses that are soft plastic to provide some give when they’re bumped. The lenses should be scratch and impact resistant to withstand constant abuse.
- Comfortable Fit–If your baby can’t talk yet, they can’t tell you how their glasses feel. It’s up to you to ensure their glasses continue to fit comfortably. Plan to replace them every few months, because your baby’s head will do 80 percent of its growing during the first two years! Check for redness or lines on your baby’s face each day to make sure their glasses aren’t becoming too tight. Look for frames that offer special features for babies, such as a durable outer shell with a softer layer of plastic on the inside for added comfort. You’ll also find many styles with cable temples, which wrap snugly around the back of the ears for stability.
- UV Protection–Since your baby’s eyes are still developing, it’s very important to protect them from the sun. Look for lenses that have UV protection built-in. Transitions lenses are an option for many styles of baby frames. These lenses will automatically adjust to the level of sunlight your child is exposed to.
Where you can buy them?
There are a lot of different styles of glasses on the market for babies and toddlers, but unfortunately you won’t find too many of them in any given store. To save time, call around to your local vision centers and ask what kind of selection they offer for infants and toddlers, and find out how much experience they have working with children this young.
Another great place to look is the internet. One of the leading providers of eyewear for babies and toddlers is Solo Bambini (www.solobambini.com). They offer a wide selection of frames in many colors and styles that are suitable for infants and children through six years of age. They can even make prescription sunglasses for your baby!
How much do they cost?
If you purchase glasses from your local vision center, expect to pay around $150 per pair without insurance coverage. Make sure you check to see if you have any coverage through your employee benefits package. Look through the available opticians in the coverage network to find out if any of them specialize in infants and toddlers. If there aren’t any, research the out-of-network costs if you choose your own doctor. Either way, you’ll still save money over paying for everything out-of-pocket.
If you don’t have coverage through your job, consider purchasing a vision plan, but in reverse order. Instead of purchasing a plan and then finding out which doctors accept your new insurance, find a doctor who specializes in pediatric optometry and ask them which insurance plans they accept. By participating in a vision plan, you’ll save in the long run on exams, fittings, frames and lenses, and you’ll find the glasses will usually be automatically covered under an extended warranty instead of charging extra for it.
Before you purchase frames in a local store, do some comparison-shopping on the internet. Online stores offer the same high-quality frames you’d find at your local vision center, but at a much lower cost. Once you have your child’s prescription, simply mail or fax it in with your order, and your child’s new glasses will be delivered to you within a week or so. Respectable online retailers offer generous return and exchange policies, and many frames come with warranties as well. You can also submit a claim to your FSA or insurance company to be reimbursed for your costs.