Past worries and current realities

Zoe's first day in glasses

Three years ago, Zoe got her glasses.  It was the day after Christmas – she was 14 months old.  She wore the glasses well for a while in the store, and I was optimistic that getting her to wear them might actually be easy.  Hah.  She didn’t wear them so much the rest of that evening or the rest of the week, for that matter.  I’ve recently found myself re-reading through posts that I wrote those first couple of days when Zoe got her glasses (day 1; day 2 – my day 2 post says that Zoe is much better at wearing glasses, that was a wishful thinking), and reliving that time.

I’m surprised by how emotional I get looking at those first pictures of Zoe in her glasses.  Even now, three years later, knowing how much I have come to love Zoe’s glasses, I get a lump in my stomach remembering looking at her that first day, trying to get used to those little red wire-frame glasses on her face – or off her face, flung across the room.  After she went to bed, I kept going through pictures of her I’d taken that day, trying to convince myself that this was the new face of my daughter, and that I was ok with it.  It probably  sounds a little overly dramatic, especially to anyone who’s never been there, but it really was hard.

In my posts, I identified some of the things that worried me the most, and it’s interesting reading what worried me then from this vantage point 3 years later.

My fears when Zoe first got glasses:

  • that she’d look so different in glasses,
  • that we’d lose her glasses,
  • that she’d end up needing surgery,
  • that I’d always have this visible reminder that she wasn’t perfect
  • that she’d always be known as the kid with glasses,

Looking at that list now, nearly every one of my fears was realized.  The only one that never really came to pass was seeing the glasses as a reminder that she’s not perfect.  They’ve always just been something to help her see, and I’m happy for that.  But she does look different in her glasses, and it was startling just how different she looked at first – at 14 months, she all of a sudden looked like a kid in glasses, rather than a baby.  Now, the glasses have become so normal, that it’s not so much that I think she looks different in glasses, as it is that I think she looks funny without them.

We did lose her glasses once – she threw them out of her stroller – but Chris was able to retrace our steps and find them, thank goodness.  And she did need surgery 6 months later, and that was very hard.  But that feels like such a long time ago now.  The thing that has stayed the same from that list is that she was and still is, the kid with glasses.  It’s stopped bothering me, though.  I like that people remember Zoe, and that she stands out.  Besides, she wears her glasses very well.

picture of a 4 year old in glasses

Zoe, three years after getting glasses

I spend very little time now, worrying about Zoe and her glasses.  I occasionally worry about the expense, and about keeping her glasses from getting broken, either by her, or by other kids, or by me.  I worry that her eyes will cross again.  I worry about her being teased about her glasses as she gets older.  She loves her glasses a lot, and I think it will be very hard for her to hear someone tease her about them.  But I think that’s a pretty common worry for any parent, that their child will be teased for something they love.

For other parents who’s kids have had glasses for a while, what were your top fears when they first got glasses?  Any new worries that cropped up later?

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7 responses to “Past worries and current realities

  1. i always have to remind myself that worrying will not help my child get better.
    I try not to trawl the net too much (believe me thats where it all starts, espc when its 3am and the mind is more irrational and vulnerable than usual) and just do the best i can for my little boy.
    I am rather matter of fact about my son’s need for glasses and i think that’s why he is the same too. he doesnt like or dislike his glasses. as far as he’s concerned ,it’s just for seeing things clearly with. same with patching. i told him from the beginning that it was something he had to do for his eye to be stronger.so he just does it and it is now routine.no treats , no threats. But of course, when my mind is tired or during vulnerable moments, i do indulge in fear ; the what ifs and whens and hows. But i try not to. Will be bringing 2nd baby for an eye test just in case . but in the mean time , i tell myself, what will be, will be. And i will deal with it.like you did, ann!

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  2. Hi Ann,
    Reading your post made me think back to when Paris first got glasses at just 11 months old. I felt many of the feelings you described, especially accepting the fact that my child needed glasses in the first place and that she would look so different in them. Also the fact that yes, she would now be known as the kid in glasses and they were a physical reminder that she didn’t have perfect eyes. I will admit when the doctor first said to me “Paris is a little shortsighted in her right eye and will have to wear glasses,” I had no idea of the journey we were about to begin or the rollercoaster of emotions that would go with it. I remember crying that day in his office at the thought of my one year old baby in glasses and he said to me “it’s not the end of the world”. I remember thinking he must have it wrong, this couldn’t be happening. I know it sounds dramatic but I think these are the emotions a lot of parents go through when they are first faced with the news. I also get emotional just writing this now, two years on. I was very surprised at the time at just how much it affected me. My other worry was that glasses would not correct the drift in her eye and that she would need surgery. Well two years on and Paris is now three. She has been patching for two to three hours per day for nearly two years and it has really become part of our daily routine. I would have to say the patching turned out to be much much easier than we expected. As for her being the kid in glasses, yes she is. However, she wears those glasses so well and I dont think anyone sees them as a distraction from her beautiful face. As for the surgery, well the PO seems to think that wont be necessary, but we will have to wait and see. What I didn’t realise at the time, was that if anything the “hoops” that Paris has had to jump through so early in life has made her a more resilient child. She does not let anything beat her and is a very determined and independant little lady. My hopes for Paris are that she continues to wear her glasses with confidance and like you Ann, I dread the day any child may say anything nasty to her about them (they will have me to deal with!!). She said the sweetest thing the other day…….
    “mum, did you build me?” to which I replied “I did, both dad and I built you and you are perfect”. She replied, “so you made my head and my arms and legs and eyes and glasses!”
    Funny how she obviously sees them as so much a part of her, and they are.
    I will admit I still have moments when I worry, probably unecessarily, about what is in store down the track. However, I am so glad that we caught her vision problem so early and we are doing absolutely everything we possibly can to ensure she has the best outcome. I probably read way too many articles on the internet and think way too much about it, but I would rather know too much than not enough.
    I am so glad for forums such as this Ann. It has helped me so much along the way to know that there is always somewhere I can come to for advice or just to talk about things, which is just wonderful. Thank you.

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  3. When we had to put our son Liam in glasses at 2 yrs old, it just kinda broke my heart. But 2 1/2 years later, we’re doing pretty well. Initially, the greatest challenge was simply keeping the things on his face – and we went with a pair with cable temples to help with that. He’s done very well with consitently wearing his glasses. The big challenge as he’s fast approaching his 5th birthday is bending the frames back in shape – he’s a very “rough & tumble” active boy and his glasses take a heckuva beating.

    We’ve been sticking with wireframe glasses because those were what fit his face size best, but now that he’s grown a bit, we’re about to try a pair of plastic frames to see if they stand up to the abuse better.

    His optometrist is optimistic (say that three times quickly!) that his very mild strabismus amd farsightedness can be fully corrected by the time he completed elementary school. And since we have seen some distinct improvement in the mild alignment problem he had at 2, we’re hopefull that he’ll outgrow the need for glasses.

    One initial problem we encountered was that none of the “brick & mortar” shops in town had frames that were small enough for him. LensCrafters had a single pair that was not too oversized, but the frames alone were $120! So, we ended up buying glasses online. I was apprehensive about buying glasses sight unseen (rimshot!) but we couldn’t be happier with the very affordable glasses we got from Zenni Optical.

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  4. I never really worried about surgery, thankfully that has not come to pass! I also don’t worry that he’ll be teased since I always wanted glasses growing up. One thing I didn’t anticipate was, frankly, how tiresome it gets explaining how I knew he needed glasses at such a young age. Or the very subtle (maybe I’m imagining it) blame game from relatives and strangers — how on earth did this horrible mother CAUSE this defect! “I see so many more children these days wearing glasses” “Oh, you gave him so much X to eat when he was a baby”. Unfortunately, I have not reached a place where I am really at peace with him wearing glasses. Day to day, though I don’t think about it much. My little guy looks pretty cute with or without glasses. Some things just trigger me thinking about it and then I spend time torturing myself on what may have caused it or how to “heal” it. Bleah.

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    • Cathy, how awful to feel blamed for your son’s vision! I remember overhearing someone saying something about glasses for young kids just makes their vision weaker (Zoe was with me and was the only young kid in glasses, so I assume they were talking about her). I wish I could say I went over and set them straight, but I just fumed quietly.

      I hope you can find peace with his glasses and truly believe that there was nothing you did to cause it, and that you’re a wonderful mom for making sure that his vision develops correctly with glasses.

      Oh, and I hear you on how tiresome it gets explaining how you knew he needed glasses and how doctors can figure out prescriptions. I was tempted to make a small card that I could just hand out rather than explain it one more time.

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  5. Hello! I’m brand new to the blog so I’m hoping that I posted in the correct spot and this gets viewed. Our 18 month old daughter was prescribed eyeglasses for farsightedness. We picked up the glasses the first week of this month and we are having a terrible time getting her to wear them. She refuses to put them on, runs from us, pushes them away, etc. If we do happen to get them on it’s only for a split second and she closes her eyes. Did your children go through this too at first? Any tips on how to get her to wear them? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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    • Hi Jerilyn, Zoe wasn’t quite so bad with her glasses, but she did fight them pretty hard at first. Is there any chance you can distract her with something she absolutely loves? That’s what worked best for us.

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