Why Your Child May Need Bifocals


Sometimes kids with vision problems need to wear bifocals, even if only temporarily. Since the lens contains two different prescriptions, bifocals help correct both near and far vision. This allows a child to see better at all distances. Although bifocal lenses generally are associated with adults as they get older and have trouble changing the focus of their eyes, pediatric ophthalmologists (such as those from San Juans Vision Source) sometimes prescribe bifocals for children who have focusing problems.

Bifocals for children:

  • Slow the progression of myopia. Nearsightedness is a common vision problem in children, but findings of research reported in the Archives of Ophthalmology suggest that bifocals may slow nearsightedness progression in children more than single-vision lenses.

    Children with myopia should wear eyeglasses for close work, particularly when they do their schoolwork and homework. Near work puts more stress on the eyes; therefore, lenses that help kids see better up close prevent headaches, eye strain and fatigue, and blurred vision.

  • Correct strabismus, or crossed eyes. Excessive farsightedness can cause misalignment of the eyes. Ophthalmologists prescribe corrective lenses to help children with strabismus focus on near objects. In severe cases, a child may have difficulty focusing on objects at any distance. The purpose of eyeglasses is to prevent amblyopia (lazy eye) where the vision in one eye doesn't develop normally. Permanent vision loss can occur if amblyopia isn't corrected in childhood.

  • Provide help with changing focus. Some kids have problems when they shift their eyes from near to far distance. As a result, what they see looks blurry. Focusing too hard can cause double vision as well, as it takes more effort to focus on objects at near distance.

    When looking at objects, such as a computer screen or book, for several minutes at a time, it's important not have them close to the face. If distant objects are blurred when kids look up from reading or writing, they shouldn't look down again until they can see objects in the distance clearly.

  • Help kids focus their eyes for longer periods of time. After a while, a child's vision may blur, making it hard to read print. When your child looks through the bottom half of a bifocal lens, it takes less effort to bring near objects into clear focus.

Fitting a child with bifocals

While you may worry how your child will adjust, kids tend to have fewer problems than adults adapting to bifocals. Children should wear bifocals so that the lines in the lenses are at the same level as the lower eyelids.

Kids often prefer bifocals with visible lines because they make it easier for them to know where to look through the lenses for near and distance vision. If your child worries about appearance, the line in round bifocals isn't as noticeable as in a flat-top bifocal lens.


10 February 2015

Making Changes With Vision Therapy

When my daughter began having academic problems in school and acting out, I knew that something wasn’t right. Her teachers wanted me to put her on ADD medications, but I didn’t think that that was the right course for us. I had serious doubts that ADD was what was causing her problems. I took her to several different specialists before discovering that her issues in school were actually do to a visual processing problem. The doctor recommended vision therapy, not medication, to help correct the problem and get her back on track. The exercises are really starting to pay off, and she’s showing great improvement.