First, a quick note to say that I have updated the photo galleries with some wonderful new photos of kiddos in glasses and in patches. Thank you to everyone who has shared their photos! They really go a long way to helping other families and young kids in glasses and patches to feel less alone.
‘Tis the season for all sorts of giveaways and contests, it seems. And there’s some really good ones going on right now. Here’s a quick rundown of the ones I know of:
- Share your opinions – be entered to win $50 Amazon card: There is a survey that is looking at ways to improve the glasses-buying experience for parents with young children who need glasses. They are looking for opinions of US parents whose children needed glasses before the age of 8. At the end of the survey, they will do a drawing and one participant will receive a $50 Amazon card. US only. UPDATE: Survey is still open. Survey closes Dec. 1, 2013. Take the survey here.
Make a funny face with fruits and vegetables and glasses – win 1 of 12 pairs of Zoobug frames: Zoobug glasses has a super-cute funny face contest, with 12 winners, each receiving a pair of Zoobug frames! Just dress up a fruit or vegetable like a face wearing glasses and send the photo in to their facebook page, or tweet it to @Zoobuglondon. Contest is open worldwide, and ends December 9, 2013. More details here.
- Closed. Facebook giveaway with a whole lot of prizes: Eye Candy by Gwen is hosting a huge holiday giveaway on her facebook page. The prizes include books, accessories, patches, and even eye glasses frames. Giveaway ends November 25, 2013. Contest is open worldwide, but shipping may be required for international winners in some cases. More details here.
- Enter your child’s school library to win a copy of Jacob’s Eye Patch: Patch Pals and author Beth Kobliner Shaw are working together to give away 100 copies to elementary school libraries. US only. The last 25 copies will be given away on November 26, 2013. More details here.
- Of course, there’s the patching giveaway going on here, with patches, books and a bear wearing an eye patch. The giveaway is open world wide and ends November 25. Take a look!
And please, if you haven’t looked at the Glasses board book Kickstarter, take a look. We are getting very close to our goal, but still need a bit more to be fully funded. The Kickstarter ends November 26.
The Kickstarter for the Glasses! board book is still running. There are only 9 days left, and we’re almost two-thirds of the way there!
I have heard so often from so many of you that seeing pictures of other children in glasses has helped so much. For kids, seeing other kids in glasses helps them feel less alone and get excited about their own glasses. And for parents, it can help make the idea of your child in glasses less scary and unknown. I know when I learned that Zoe needed glasses, I couldn’t think of a single child under the age of 5 in glasses, so it was really hard to imagine what we were getting in to.
There are just so few books out there that are aimed at the very youngest of kids in glasses, and so little awareness of the importance of good vision in young children. This book project addresses that directly. But I need your help to make this happen. We need to raise the full goal of $6,000 by November 26. If that goal isn’t reached, then none of the funding comes through (that’s the way Kickstarter works, and it’s a good protection for backers – if a project can’t raise enough money to continue, then you don’t have to worry about losing money).
Many people have said that they wish this book had existed when their child was little – heck, it’s the book that I wish existed when Zoe first got glasses. Well, even if your child is past the board book stage, you can still back the project and have a copy sent to a childcare provider, or preschool, or library of your choice. I’ll include a resource page for parents and caregivers. That way, the book will be there when another family needs it!
Help make this happen!
There’s a lot of recent updates that I haven’t done a good job of keeping up with, so here goes:
- The 2014 date for the Great Glasses Play Day has been announced. We had a lot of requests to move away from the August date due to weather issues in a lot of locations. After running a poll about the timing, the winner was early May. So….
I hope we’ll see you there!!!
- “Glasses” board book – we’re now 40% funded through Kickstarter and have 16 days to go. The campaign ends November 26. You can learn more about the book at the website GlassesBoardBook.com.
- There is a huge Ultimate Holiday Giveaway for Kids Who Patch or Wear Glasses going on at Eye Power Kid’s Wear. This is seriously one of the best giveaways I’ve seen, with a whole lot of award packages to fit everyone’s situation. It is open to everyone, but international winners will need to pay shipping. The giveaway ends in 3 days, so you should jump over there quick
In an earlier post, I mentioned that I had a book that I was working on a board book and would be launching a Kickstarter soon. Well the Kickstarter has launched! And I’d love your support.
Glasses: a board book
The book is titled Glasses. It will be a board book that features photos of young children, 3 and under who wear glasses. It will have a simple poem that accompanies the pictures that celebrates glasses and the kids that wear them.
Some glasses are red,
Some glasses are blue.
I think your glasses look great on you!
The book is inspired by the many messages I’d heard from parents whose children asked to look at our photo gallery to see other kids their age in glasses. And it’s inspired by Zoe, who even at seven asks about why there aren’t more kids in glasses. I want the youngest of kids who wear glasses to not feel alone, and to see and hear about why their glasses are lovely and how they help them to see!
I am not one who has always wanted to write a children’s book. I’m a librarian, I’d prefer to find books for people, not write them. But this idea for a book is one that has stuck with me for years and tugged on me to get it made. Recently, as I’ve watched other authors write their books, I’ve been inspired by their willingness to make it happen, and to get their books out there for other kids. So I decided to take the plunge and give this a shot.
So what is Kickstarter, anyway?
Kickstarter, for those that haven’t encountered it before, is a way to raise money for creative projects that will result in some kind of product. Basically, the creator (that’s me!) explains the project and the funding they will need to do that project. And anyone can pledge any amount, and the creator sets reward levels. So for instance, if you pledge $17, you will get a copy of the book when it’s completed. Now, if the full funding isn’t reached by a certain deadline (Nov. 26, in my case), then no one gets any money, and nothing is lost. You will only get charged if the project is fully funded. I have backed a few Kickstarters – my husband has backed quite a few – we’ve been very happy with the projects we’ve backed so far.
The funding for Glasses will help cover the costs of the photo shoot for the book, as well as the production and printing costs of the first run of the book.
Please take a look at the Kickstarter and consider backing it. And please, please, share this with anyone else that might be interested!
Frequently asked questions: My child’s eyes cross without their glasses, are the glasses making their eyes worse?
This is one of the questions that comes up very often in the Little Four Eyes facebook group. The question usually reads something like this:
My child just started wearing glasses a few weeks ago for farsightedness. Before getting glasses, we noticed that her eyes would cross, but only occasionally. When her glasses are on, her eyes are staying straight now, but now when we take her glasses off, her eyes always cross, and it seems like they’re crossing even more than they used to. Are her glasses making her eyes worse?
It has always frustrated me that this isn’t covered by more eye doctors with parents of farsighted children. Short answer is that it is nothing to worry about if a child’s eyes are straight with glasses on, but crossing without glasses, in fact it’s quite common. However, it’s very startling and upsetting for parents to see what looks like their child’s eyes getting worse after they get glasses.
This happens with kids with accommodative esotropia. That is, their child uses their accommodative reflex to focus through the farsightedness, but that causes eye strain and crossed eyes. Monica Wright from Kids’ Eyes Online has a good overview.
Once a child has adjusted to their glasses, they become used to seeing clearly. When their glasses are taken off, they want to continue seeing clearly, and so they try to accommodate, which causes their eyes to cross, often more strongly than before they had glasses.
We saw this with Zoe (as you can see in the pictures), and it was really upsetting to see, especially since I so strongly associated crossed eyes with vision problems. As Zoe has gotten older, she’s been better able to keep her eyes straight even without her glasses.
It is also important to note that if you see your child’s eyes not lining up correctly while their glasses are on, you should contact their eye doctor. For many children, it’s a sign that their prescription needs adjusting.
It should come as no surprise that I love books and turn to books especially when it comes to children’s books. I’m a librarian, after all. When Zoe first got glasses, I set out to find some good books for a young toddler in glasses. And I came up pretty short. There are certainly books about glasses out there (our book list is a testament to that), but very few of them speak to the experiences of a young toddler or baby. In fact, if I had to characterize the books out there, they almost all fall in to one of two categories:
- Main character wears glasses. Their friends tease them about the glasses, so they try not wearing their glasses. Usually funny hi-jinks (going into the wrong bathroom, misidentifying something, etc) ensue. (ex: Arthurs Eyes, Princess Peepers).
- Main character’s friend gets glasses and the main character is super jealous, even though their friend doesn’t really want glasses. Usually funny hi-jinks ensue as the main character tries to find ways to convince their parents and eye doctor that they really need glasses. (ex: Fancy Nancy: Spectacular Spectacles, I really absolutely must have glasses).
- Some books combine both plot points (Pearl and Wagner: Four Eyes)
Of course, there are some books out there that don’t fall into those categories. And falling in to one of those categories doesn’t necessarily mean that a book is bad – there are some fantastic books out there. But the fact remains that those scenarios aren’t really ones that our very youngest kids in glasses will encounter. And after you’ve read a few with the same story line, they can start to feel a bit contrived.
But I feel like recently there’s been an upsurge in books that are written by parents of young kids with vision issues, or even written by people who had vision issues growing up. I can think of a few off hand:
- Princesses wear glasses, by Kristin Ellsworth
- PatchLand Adventures series, by Carmen Swick
- Samantha wears a contact lens and patch…just like you, by Juliette Vignola
- Jacob’s Eye Patch, by Beth Kobliner Shaw and Jacob Shaw
- I can see just fine, by Eric Barclay
- My Travelin’ Eye, by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw (who has had strabismus since birth)
- Randy Kazandy, where are your glasses?, by Rhonda Fisher (whose brother got glasses at 17 months)
- I’m certain I’m missing some — please leave comments with other books that I missed!
There are some things that set these books apart. The books tend to be more positive. The glasses or patches or contacts are a part of the kids’ lives, but the stories tend to show more of the kids doing normal things. And there are more of the little details about what life is like after the initial period of adjustment is over: In Samantha wears a contact, you see that sometimes mom has trouble removing her contact. In I can see just fine, there’s a glimpse of just how dirty our kids’ glasses get (all the time). In Jacob’s eye patch, we see just how often kids and parents are asked about eye patches.
And now there self-publishing, which has allowed some of the books mentioned above to be published. When I talked with a children’s book publisher about a board book idea I had (stay tuned!!), I was told that the audience for the book was just too small. Board books are expensive to print, but don’t sell for very much, so publishers want a guarantee that the books will sell a lot of copies. But now that more and more books can be printed on demand, it makes it more possible for parents to write books that reflect our experiences and get those books out to others in similar circumstances. Even if the group is small, the experience can be shared. And I think that’s a fantastic new change!
I know that there are many books written by parents in our community currently in the works:
- Alison Joyce has a Kickstarter for her board book, “I see. You see. We ALL see!” Take a look and please consider supporting her!
- Cynthia Davis is working on a book, “My Bright Blue Glasses”, planned to be out in November, 2013, that follows the journey of a toddler “who had to deal with learning he has to wear glasses, patch and go to vision therapy.” She’s also working on another book targeted at older kids.
- I will be launching a Kickstarter soon for my own board book that features photos of babies and toddlers in glasses with rhyming text that celebrates the role of glasses in a child’s life
- I’m certain I’m missing some — please leave comments if you know of other book projects that should be included.
If you are working on a book that relates to young children with vision issues, please, please let me know. I would like to help you get the word out about the book you’re working on! I will also continue reviewing and sharing traditionally published books – as far as I’m concerned, the more books out there for our kids in glasses, contacts, or eye patches, the better!
A long time ago (well, long time in Internet land), I wrote a post about the good side of having a kid in glasses. My favorite was that everyone seemed to notice Zoe’s glasses, so they probably didn’t notice the stains on her shirt. I’d been thinking about that post again as I’ve recently come up with a few more side benefits. And of course, I’ll note that the absolute best thing about glasses is that they improve and protect our children’s eye sight, but a few other perks don’t hurt :
Sun protection. We all know that it’s important to protect our eyes against the sun’s UV rays. Well, the lenses of our kids’ glasses provide UV protection. So any time their wearing glasses outside, they’re getting protection. Now, a lot of glasses have small lenses, so they don’t provide protection from sun that comes in around the lenses, but it’s still far more than if they were out without glasses. And now that I also have a second daughter who doesn’t wear glasses, I can say, it’s way easier to get Zoe to wear her glasses (be they prescription sunglasses or regular glasses) outside than it is to get her sister to wear sunglasses regularly.
- Side benefit: Siblings may be more likely to wear sunglasses because they’re jealous of their brother or sister’s glasses.
Masks. A while ago, someone on the facebook group asked about masks for kids in glasses. Amomofelly came up with a fantastic design, using craft foam to make a mask that slides on to your child’s glasses. You can get the instructions here. I’m in love with this mask! It stays on and in place so well, and it looks awesome, and it’s super easy to make! I’m actually sad that Zoe’s little sister doesn’t have glasses, because they’d make her chicken costume for Halloween much easier. I’m also thinking about making a mask this way for myself this year, too.
- Advocacy. We get asked about Zoe’s glasses all the time – and we got asked a lot more when she was littler. There’s still not a lot of awareness of the importance of children’s vision. As exhausting as the questions can sometimes be, they’re a great opportunity to help other parents understand how important it is to have their children’s vision tested and to get treatment if there’s a problem.
I’m sure there are other great side benefits to a young one in glasses. What am I forgetting?
Yesterday in our facebook group (if you’re not a member, you should be!), Jessica shared an upsetting story which she gave permission to share here. She was with her son in the waiting room of their eye doctor. Another woman was there with a young boy, and the woman told the boy that if he didn’t behave, he’d have to wear an eye patch like the baby (“the baby” being Jessica’s son).
I’ll let it sink in just how awful a comment like that is. First that anyone would essentially accuse someone of putting an eye patch on their child as a punishment, is horrid. But if that young boy ever does need to patch, he now may think it’s because of something he did and be far less willing to comply. I’m happy to say that Jessica responded well and explained why her son needed to wear a patch.
The story inspired another member, Kristin, to create a new pie chart, which reflects why a child might be wearing a patch. It’s a bit different from another chart about patching that I’ve seen around. Kristin’s is far more accurate:
So I asked for a second chart that outlines reasons why a child might be wearing glasses, in response to all the questions we get about whether the glasses are real. Kristin happily provided one:
I should note that the pie charts are for illustrative purposes only and are not based on real numbers. I actually have no idea how many kids may be playing dress up with glasses or eye patches at any given time. I hope none are ever wearing them as punishment!
Jessica D is putting together a calendar with pictures of kids with glasses, eye patches, or other vision issues, and little blurbs of why your little one wears glasses or what vision impairment they may have. All proceeds from the sale of the calendar will go 50/50 to help with next years Great Glasses Play Day and the other half to Children’s Eye Research Foundation!
Given just how cute pictures of our kids are, there wouldn’t be a fair way to choose, so she will randomly choose from the pictures sent to her. If you’d like to enter a picture of your child, send it in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
And speaking of pictures, if you haven’t already, you should look at some of the pictures from the Great Glasses Play Days this year! Some are up on the website, but there’s even more on the facebook page!
Festivities for the Great Glasses Play Day kick off in just a few hours. I can’t wait to hear how all the celebrations go, and I’m looking forward to making some new friends at our event in St. Paul.
Even if you’re not able to make one of the meet-ups, make sure you take a look at the online celebrations that are happening on Sunday, August 4. It’s a great way to participate, have fun, show how much you love that your child can see better (even if you don’t always love the glasses), and help raise awareness of how important it is to catch and treat vision issues early. Plus, you’ll be entered in a giveaway for some fun prizes!
The Great Glasses Play Day site has more details…