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Does anyone have a child who wears bifocals?

(22 Posts)
yoyo Fri 30-Oct-09 20:30:26

DD has been prescribed these by the optician to try and correct her lazy eye. She is 11 and extremely upset as she has never seen a child wearing them and feels that she will look like a "granny". We do not know how long she will need to wear them for or how successful this approach will be.
If anyone has experience of bifocals with children I would appreciate your views - at the moment we are reassuring her constantly but I feel so sorry for her especially as she is just at the age where her appearance matters hugely to her.

whereareyou Fri 30-Oct-09 22:26:50

Would they let her have varifocals (without the line) or contact lenses with glasses on top for close work?

yoyo Sat 31-Oct-09 09:50:16

Don't know about varifocals. She needs the bifocals as she only needs to use her glasses for distance reading, e.g. the whiteboard in school. I don't think the contact lens possibility is an option. I am thinking of getting a second opinion and also to look into whether there are better quality bifocals to reduce the obviousness of the line. She is having the half-moon option as the person doing the fitting felt that they would be less noticeable. More tears last night...

binjibaghi Mon 02-Nov-09 21:19:35

was it definitely an optician who prescribed them? I would advise getting a gp referral to an Orthoptist - childrens eye specialist for a second opinion.

yoyo Mon 02-Nov-09 22:12:08

Yes, definitely an optician. She saw an orthoptist for a few years when she was young having been referred by an optician who first spotted her lazy eye. She then had patches and regular hospital check ups but was discharged several years ago. We were told that it was improving as her eyesight changed from long to short-sighted and would only really be apparent if she was unwell or excessively tired. I was also under the impression that you could only correct it up until the age of about 9.
I will ask if she needs a referral and try and dig out her old notes (they will hopefully have survived a couple of house moves).

fishie Mon 02-Nov-09 22:16:07

my lazy eye wasn't diagnosed until i was 19 and too late for correction. have had to wear glasses a lot ever since which is no fun.

friend did get diagonised and corrected at the time = no glasses.

notasausage Mon 02-Nov-09 22:19:42

This sounds very odd. I worked as a receptionist in an opticians and never came across this. I would get a second opinion.

BrigitBigKnickers Mon 02-Nov-09 22:23:23

Both my girls needed two different prescriptions in their lenses. DD1 had Bi focals and most people didn't even notice the line between the different parts of the lens.

DD2 had varifocals and got on fine with them so if your DD is concerned about the appearance, that might be the way to go.

yoyo Mon 02-Nov-09 22:24:52

Her initial referral when she was about three was dealt with by her then optician. As this one has not even mentioned it should I see her doctor or go back to the optician?

notasausage - do opticians generally do the referring would you know from your experience?

yoyo Mon 02-Nov-09 22:27:56

BBK - did your DDs have them to correct a lazy eye? If so, was it successful? Did you have to have the varifocals on a private prescription, i.e. not NHS?

Thanks to all for your suggestions and comments.

BrigitBigKnickers Mon 02-Nov-09 22:37:10

One of my DDs had a lazy eye- diagnosed age 2 and a half. We did all the patching when she was little and she had the varifocals for about 2 years but her eyes have improved so much she has gone back to single vision lenses.

The first optician (small independent but recommended by the doctor as an alternative to the hospital clinic as she was a specialist with children) wouldn't give us the lenses on the NHS and I got fed up with their extortionate prices ("No we don't do any free NHS frames"!!! angry )

Then a specsavers opened up next door to them and just out of interest I went in their to enquire how much it would cost me to get glasses with varifocals made up there- they seemed puzzled by the question. "If it's on her prescription- nothing..."

So when she next had her eyes checked I just asked for the prescrition and went next door to get them made up. The choice of free and cheap designer frames was brilliant and the repair service is fab.

BrigitBigKnickers Mon 02-Nov-09 22:38:48

Forgot to say the lazy eye has been successfully treated- it occassionally slips when she is tired but she was treated from very young- not sure how successful it will be for an 11 year old.

whereareyou Mon 02-Nov-09 22:40:36

If an optician prescribed bifocals for a child then I would expect it to be an optician who has a special interest and normally has done an extra further professional qualification in orthoptics.

Most opticians would refer on to an orthoptist in this area in a similar way a GP does but opticians who have done extra qualifications (DipOrth) such as for example this optician should not need to do this.

If you are in doubt ask for referral to an orthoptist.

whereareyou Mon 02-Nov-09 22:43:43

The optician can refer directly (or by letter via the GP) to the hospital if you wish so you can ask for this

yoyo Mon 02-Nov-09 22:48:46

Thanks BBK. I am glad to hear that it was successful for your DD.
I think I need to ask more questions when we go to pick them up. As she has had several appointments with this optician I would have thought it would have been attended to before now. Feeling somewhat annoyed now that I am less emotional about it.

yoyo Mon 02-Nov-09 22:55:11

whereareyou - thanks for this. I will ring the receptionist tomorrow and ask if she has a special interest or extra qualifications (she's really nice and I'm sure she wouldn't mind me asking).

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 02-Nov-09 23:11:04

i worked in optics for 10 years and come across this twice.

if your at all worried then ask for a referral. the children i saw all opted for varifocals as its less obvious than a bifocal. does the same job.

specsavers are a franchise - some are great and some are crap. its pot luck in that respect. the specsavers i worked in was crap. the independent i worked in for 8 years was brilliant.

BrigitBigKnickers Tue 03-Nov-09 21:24:53

I know specsavers can vary. I used to attend one in another town and was awful.
We are lucky ours is fantastic. And I know quite a few people who are unhappy with the independent we have used.

yoyo Tue 03-Nov-09 21:33:58

I have to collect DD's spare pair tomorrow so I am going to have a chat with them then. Interestingly, when DD was under the optometrist she recommended an optician at our local Specsaver. She was excellent and very thorough and it was easy to see why she was so highly thought of.

yoyo Wed 11-Nov-09 22:35:00

Had a good chat with the person who fits the glasses earlier this week and felt slightly reassured. He was also excellent with DD and reassured her that they would be very difficult to distinguish from ordinary glasses with her prescription. We collect them on Friday so we shall see what they look like then. He did say that if she was not happy then they could go down the varifocal route but that they are often harder for children to adjust to than bifocals. Still not sure why it has been deemed necessary for her to wear them now though...

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 11-Nov-09 23:00:20

now id not agree with that actually - in my experience children adapt much quicker to varis, they have better tolerance.

see how you go, but dont be afraid to go back if youve any probs.

BrigitBigKnickers Wed 11-Nov-09 23:13:45

Our optician also said something about children finding vari focals more difficult to adjust to but DD2 (who was 8 when she first had them) had absolutely no problems at all.

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