Archive for August 2009


August 13, 2009

I wish I could say the experience of getting glasses for Finn, who is not yet two years old, has been a piece of cake, but it has been a bit of a nightmare from the get-go.

A few months ago, I noticed that Finn’s right eye turned in dramatically toward his nose whenever he was looking at anything close up.  It reminded me of my brother who had a lazy eye and needed to wear glasses by the age of three.  I hoped I was imagining it, but it just kept getting worse.   At the last visit to the pediatrician, she concurred there was a problem and referred us to a pediatric optometrist. 

Being that this was an optometrist geared specifically toward kids, I imagined we would get lots of personal attention and help.  Wrong.  She did some fancy things with a flashlight & cardboard with lines on it.  She then put drops in his eyes to dilate them and told us to wait in the waiting area for 20 minutes until the stuff kicked in. 

I had Finn strapped in his stroller with an arsenal of things to distract him, but I think the confusion with his eyes blurring was making him crazy.  He just began to screech until I let him out of the chair to play with some of the toys the clinic provided.  He could not see well enough to simply play, so he took to hurling plastic trucks and colored blocks across the room.  He found his way to the drawing table and I had some hope that he would behave while he quietly removed every single crayon out of the large bin and laid them on the table.  He then proceeded to throw every single crayon in every direction too fast for me simultaneously pick them up and stop him from doing it.  I could feel the eyes of the other waiting parents burning into my back as I scrambled on the floor, whisper-yelling at my kid.

Meanwhile, a couple and their bespectacled son who was about Finn’s age came into the room.  My heart fell a bit, because the kid for sure looked like a 4-eyed goober, but it gave me an idea of what to expect.  His parents said they worried about him wearing the glasses and not just ripping them off his face every chance he got, but it turned out he loved his glasses and wore them all the time, because viola!  He could see!

An excruciating hour had passed while I waited with an increasingly unruly toddler and I was getting angry.  When the nurse came to get us I gave her the 3rd degree that it was simply too long to expect a little person to wait.  Finn was still on a rampage when we were back in the doctor’s office, which made me very stressed and in a large hurry to get the hell out of there.  Basically the doctor said Finn was farsighted and was over compensating with his right eye when looking at things close-up.  The good news was that the brain was not favoring one eye (this is when the brain literally shuts one eye off as it uses the other one to see; the muscles go slack and the eye will just roll inward).  She said we will try to correct the eye turning in by having him wear glasses.  If it gets worse, however, surgery is a possibility.  I did not hear much else after this, as my son was very literally climbing the walls.

The part I do not understand is that this optometrist did not provide the glasses, just the prescription.  Her only bit of advice about getting him the glasses was to find a place near our home as we may be going back and forth a lot.  I did not know what she meant by that at the time, but I soon found out.


The next weekend, Sasha and I took Finn to Lens crafters.  I envisioned that we would pick out a plastic-like rubber pair in blue that wrapped around his ears and we would be on our way.  Wrong. Turns out, Lens Crafters, whose sole job is to make glasses for the masses, did not have any glasses for toddlers.  They had some for older kids that basically looked like shrunken adult glasses.  I was flabbergasted!  The lady suggested trying JC Penney & Target, but it was the same story.  I then called every single place I could think of to see if they carried glasses for toddlers that were somewhat indestructible and wrapped around the ears.  There was only one single place in the entire Seattle metropolitan area that said that they did: Wal-Mart.  There is only one Wal-Mart in the area and it is in a neighboring town completely out of our way.  We headed over there only to discover that the pairs of rubbery glasses that wrap around the ears that they had on stock, were only for babies; they did not fit our poor, little farsighted boy.  The one difference that this optical shop offered was an employee by the name of Miki who was actually very kind and helpful.  Out of a combination of sheer frustration at the optical business and gratitude for Miki’s attention, we shelled out $100 clams for a pair of slightly too large kid glasses for Finn at the Wal-Mart location.  Since the frames did not wrap around the ears to help them stay on, we had to also purchase the strap that wraps around the entire head; otherwise known as the dork-strap.  The glasses are metal with hinges that looked extremely delicate, but the hope was that they are made for kids so must be at least somewhat indestructible, right?  Wrong.

It took a week for them to put the lenses in the frames.  When we picked them up, we did not get the help of pleasant Miki, but a cold-eyed trainee who did very little to even fit the frames on Finn’s face.  Let me just say that glasses for toddlers is just dumb.  They get smudged so easily as kids have sticky, wandering hands.  You have to clean them every two seconds, and once you take them off the kids face to clean them, it is near impossible to get them back on.   When we got home, Finn wore the glasses about long enough for me to take some photos.

The next day when I was dropping Finn off at daycare, I was demonstrating how to put his glasses on with the dork-strap.  Before I even got them on his head, the lens came flying out.  Are you freaking kidding me?!?!  We expected that there was a large possibility that Finn would break these glasses, but he never even touched them. Sonofabitch! 

I had ordered a few back-up glasses from an online store that was very inexpensive, but they would not arrive for almost two weeks.  We had zero time to drive to the neighboring town to drop the glasses off for fixing; I was finally able to do this yesterday and will have to drive back to pick them up and have them refitted to Finn’s face, so we are basically back to square one.

I know that young kids in glasses are rare, but optical shops should be at least somewhat prepared to help families like me. 

The good news is that the back-up pair just arrived.  Even though they only cost one quarter as much as the Wal-Mart pair, Finn immediatelycrumpled them up in his fist like a pretzel and then stepped on them, but they did not break!