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Does my child need an A/R (Anti-Reflective lens coating)?

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In a quick answer, yes, they do. Children are on computers, tablets, video-game consoles, cellphones, and e-readers more and more every day. These screens sit right in front of them, no more than 3 feet away – and that’s max—all day long.

Because of this, more and more children are in need of reading glasses and glasses in general than ever before. Long gone are the days of The Sandlot where children play baseball in an abandoned field all day. And why would they? They can freeze aliens with their capto-rays in the air-conditioning while eating a bowl of Cheetos and listening to Sha-Na-Na that they downloaded on their iPhone while texting their girlfriends who lives 6 miles away that they met on Facebook.

My point is we live in a Near-sighted world, and that’s not likely to change. The amount of eyestrain from coming from bright screens in dimly lit rooms are the cause for numerous forms of eyestrain – including headaches, light sensitivity, double-vision, and watery eyes.

But these things can be avoided with a simple coat on your glasses known as an Anti-Reflective lens coating. This fancy coat actually absorbs the light so it doesn’t reflect in your child’s eyes – and now – can be accompanied with blue filters which can help prevent macular degeneration at a later date. Additionally they make us safer drivers by negating glare from oncoming traffic and provide a great hydrophobic scratch coating that not only makes it easier to clean but more resistant to minor scuffs. (And if that isn’t enough – the good quality coatings come with 2 year lens warranties as well).

And all these things are great – but it comes down to what your definition of need is. If you’re asking me, your child’s eye doctor, if your child needs an A/R coat – my answer will be yes – for all the reasons listed above and more. But if you’re asking me if they need the coating like he or she needs their glasses or vegetables at dinner, then no, the child will be fine without… but does this child need to have an iPod, iPad, and an iPhone?

The real question is should your child have an A/R coat? Absolutely. We all should. In the end, my job is to inform you about eye health and provide you with all the necessary tools to make informed decisions about your personal eye care. What you choose to do with this information is your choice and your choice alone.

So, am I saying your child needs the A/R coat? No, your child will be fine and live happily without it, but would they be better off with it? That answer is yes, without question.


Written by Dr. Joseph Rich

Dr. Joseph D. Rich moved to Columbia shortly after completing his doctorate at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN. Growing up and completing his undergraduate work in biology, chemistry, and business management at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO, Dr. Rich considers himself a full-fledged Mizzou fan and actively enjoys going to as many games as possible.
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