Because kids spend so much time outdoors, don’t forget to offer them photochromic lenses such as Transitions.

Avoid these common mistakes when dispensing to children and your office will have more success with younger patients.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of children aged 18 and under in the U.S. has grown from 47.3 million in 1950, to 73.7 million in 2006. The current 2010 census is underway and won’t be completed until the end of the year, but it’s projected by the year 2030, that number will grow to 85.7 million. That means you’ll have a lot of youngsters to care for. It also means you’ll have a ton of recommendations to make regarding lens materials, coatings, and other lens add-ons for children. Before you do, consider the following “Seven Deadly Sins” when recommending lenses for kids. You may notice that most are “sins of omission!”

SIN NO. 1:
Not Recommending Impact-Resistant Lenses. Most eyecare professionals (ECPs) are aware of the safety and liability issues regarding children’s eyewear and know that polycarbonate provides protection, but there are other materials that give the same security while offering a few other benefits. With an Abbe value of 45, lenses made with PPG Industries, Inc.’s Trivex® lens mat-erial offer clear, sharp color-free vision without the chromatic dispersion associated with polycarbonate. While this material is just as tough as polycarbonate, it is readily tintable so dark sunglass options are an attainable goal. You’ll find Trivex material to be more chemically resistant than polycarbonate, and it resists stress fractures well. That’s good news when kids want rimless or cord-mounted eyewear.

One lens made from Trivex material is Trilogy® from Younger Optics. This thin and lightweight lens offers impact resistance that exceeds the FDA requirements.

SIN NO. 2:
Not Offering a Lens with a Good Warranty Against Scratching. Kids are kids. Stuff happens. In our office, we offer super-hard coatings that lessen the scratching issue and inform children and parents how to care for the eyewear. We also have products available like cleaning clothes, sprays, and sturdy

Recommending PALs, like Shamir’s Piccolo, to
kids allow for high segment heights without
visible lines and with more comfort.

cases to help make the eyewear last longer. When dealing with insurance plans, we make sure parents understand the warranties and if there is any additional co-pay for warranteed lens scratch replacement. While that additional small co-pay may seem like a burden when parents order the initial eyewear, it will be valuable later when the lenses are badly scratched. We offer a one-year anti-scratch warranty for patients who are not covered by insurance plans.

Consider trying the Essilor Junior™ lens from Essilor of America, Inc. It is available in a 60mm diameter size, much smaller than the 70mm diameter of most adult lenses. That means plus lenses will be thinner in any given Rx, and it comes with an anti-reflective (AR) treatment that is easy to clean, resists smudges, and is scratch resistant.

SIN NO. 3:
Not Recommending an AR Treatment. ECPs know the visual benefits of AR treatment for adult eyeglass wearers when night driving, using computers, etc., but kids can benefit as well. With children on computers at school and at home, playing video games, or just wanting better vision, parents have a tendency to sometimes scrimp on their kids. How many times have you heard, “They’ll just lose, break, or destroy the glasses so I don’t want to invest too much.”? Parents don’t realize that clearer vision means better performance in school, sports, and other recreational activities. However, you need to recommend a premium treatment like Carl Zeiss Vision Inc.’s Teflon® Elite™, Essilor’s Crizal® Avancé™ with Scotchgard™ Protector, HOYA VISION CARE, North America’s Super HiVision™ AR, or Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc.’s SuperClean.

PPG Industries’ impact-resistant Trivex
lens material provides children with clear, sharp, color-free vision.

SIN NO. 4:
Not Using PAL Lenses. Maybe you were brought up with the notion that when kids need bifocals, they get executives fit bisecting the pupil. You still want them high, but the exec is the thickest of all options with a horribly visible line. Meanwhile progressive addition lenses do the job well without the unsightliness. Short-corridor lenses, like Compact Ultra™ from Carl Zeiss Vision, Seiko’s Proceed® III SUPER SHORT, Shamir Insight, Inc.’s Piccolo®, and HD Short Corridor Progressive Lens from Augen Optics allow for high segment heights in small B dimension frames (like kids’ frames) without a visible line and with more comfort for the wearer. There’s no image jump and adaptation is fast and easy while the cosmetic appearance is vastly improved. Children love them, and parents do too.

SIN NO. 5:
Not Discussing UV Protection. Most eyewear purchasers are pretty savvy when it comes to ultra-violet (UV) blockers for sunglasses but many don’t associate UV protection with their clear glasses. Kids are less likely to have standalone sunwear than their parents. That means they are exposed to more UV radiation when outdoors. If they use lenses made with polycarbonate or Trivex lens material for eyewear, their UV protection is inherent in the lenses. If you’re recommending ADC (allyl diglycol carbonate), which is a CR-39® equivalent material, you’ll need to add UV protection to the lenses.

SIN NO. 6:
Forgetting Kids Can Benefit from Photochromic Lenses. Just like adults, children need the comfort benefits of photochromic lenses because of the lenses’ adaptable characteristics. Who goes in and outdoors more than kids? Children have the highest degree of UV absorption too. Photochromic lenses like Transitions® lenses and Corning Ophthalmic’s SunSensors® are the perfect choice for children. Overlooking this fact is not only a missed opportunity for providing young patients with comfort lenses, it’s also a missed growth opportunity for your office.

SIN NO. 7:
Not Promoting Sports and Safety Eyewear. Some parents want a “one-pair-fits-all-needs” product, but you know that contact sports and activities like skateboarding, biking, etc. present some unique challenges for eyewear and wearer safety. In my office, we ask patients to bring in headgear like helmets and faceplates to get the best fit for the activity. A simple question like, “What do you do after school?” can open the conversation. For example, kids who participate in school team sports will love the colorful safety products produced by Liberty Sport that look too cool to be utilitarian.

Disregarding these sins when making lens recommendations to your younger patients can prove deadly for your practice’s future.

Sharon Leonard is a licensed optician and contact lens practitioner in the Syracuse, NY area.

Augen Optics
866-284-3611 •

Carl Zeiss Vision Inc.
800-358-8258 •

Corning Ophthalmic
800-821-2020 •

Essilor of America, Inc.
800-542-5668 •

877-528-1939 •

Liberty Sport
800-444-5010 •

PPG Industries, Inc.
800-323-2487 •

Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc.
800-235-5367 •

Shamir Insight, Inc.
877-514-8330 •

Transitions Optical, Inc.
800-848-1506 •

Younger Optics
800-366-5367 •


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