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A guide to choosing children’s glasses and kids glasses frames

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Children's spectacle frames are cute, colourful and fun to shop for. With so many styles to choose from, you and your child are sure to find a pair of kids' spectacles you both will love.

Choices range from brands based on popular characters or childhood icons such as Harry Potter, SpongeBob and Barbie, to more "grown-up" styles or a mix of both. Modern children's spectacles also feature durability and safety features for your peace of mind.

What kids want in spectacle frames

Today, many children want eyeglasses that look just like the glasses their parents or older brothers and sisters wear.

Cool brands, fun colours and adult styling all appeal to kids. Here, eyeglasses from Miraflex, TC Charton Kids, Tommy Hilfiger Kids, Koodles, Lilly Pulitzer, Shrek, Juicy Girls, Nine West Kids and more.

Plastic frames in elongated rectangular shapes, small, retro-styled ovals, and even thin titanium frames are all available for today's small customers.

Pop culture icons and logos also are big in kids' spectacles. Cartoon characters are coming out of the television and into the eyewear stores with their own line of children's frames.

The popular Harry Potter books and movies have created a demand for frames "just like Harry's" among young children, while older kids are influenced by trendy brands and logos they see their sports heroes wearing.

No matter the style or brand, it's important for children to feel that they are a part of the frame selection process. Choosing spectacle frames they like goes a long way toward getting them to wear their glasses and take good care of them as well.

Children's spectacles: Durability and safety

While kids may want spectacle frames with a specific colour or brand, parents generally want something that's going to last.

For greater durability, look for kids' frames with features such as spring hinges (which let the frame's arms bend far outward without breaking) and flexible frame materials that can withstand accidents such as sitting on frames or over-bending the arms when taking glasses on and off). These durability features reduce your costs over time.

Thinner, lighter and stronger materials, like stainless steel and titanium, are becoming very popular in children's eyewear. Frames made from these durable materials are great for kids who are hard on their glasses.

Also, most eyewear manufacturers and optical shops offer extended warranties on children's spectacles so you can feel more at ease about your investment in your kids' glasses.

The best lenses for children's glasses are polycarbonate or Trivex lenses. These lightweight and very impact-resistant lenses offer the best combination of comfort and safety.

Polycarbonate lenses for kids also are available with extra-durable lens coatings to make the lenses more scratch-resistant. Similar lens coatings can be applied to Trivex lenses as well.

Five trends in children's eyewear

Here are five important trends in spectacles for kids to be aware of before you shop:

  1. Designers have taken cool and classic designs that work for adults and scaled them down for kids. Don't be surprised if your child wants spectacles that look a lot like yours.

  2. Branded or licensed eyewear lines grab a child's attention. Emojii, Star Wars, Peppa Pig, Disney and Marvel Comics appeal to kids of all ages, but especially to very young children. Lines related to extreme sports (X-Games), basketball (Nike, Converse) and other sports are very popular with slightly older kids.

  3. Spring hinges, strong and flexible frame materials, and impact-resistant polycarbonate or Trivex lenses all help protect your child's eyes — as well as your financial investment in his or her eyewear.

  4. Don't forget about protecting your child's eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays. Preventing overexposure to UV light starting in childhood may lower the risk of adult eye problems like macular degeneration later in life. Photochromic lenses made of impact-resistant polycarbonate block 100 percent UV, darken automatically in sunlight and are an excellent choice for kids who spend a lot of time outdoors.

  5. For the child who is fast becoming a teenager, eyewear fashion is increasingly important. Spectacle frames from Guess?, Calvin Klein and others are very appealing to "tweens." Also popular are frames branded with apparel and accessories names such as Ray Ban, Ted Baker and Diesel.

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