Monday, May 3, 2010

Glasses specifically designed for people with Down Syndrome: Specs 4 Us

I had known for a while that Jessie had grown a lot since we'd last gotten new frames, and was soon going to need new glasses. Then, she broke a part on the nose piece that couldn't be repaired.  I'd been dreading this day.  We'd been wearing the same style flexible glasses for a LONG time and they had worked well for us. They had the temple that wrapped around the back of the ear;  Jessie was wearing the largest size they came in :(  The people at DenneyVision here have always been awesome to us.  They ALL (several ladies in the frame section and several men that do repairs and adjustments) know Jessie by name.  We've been getting glasses with them since Jessie was 7 months old and she's 8 1/2 now.  When she was really young, we had to FREQUENTLY have adjustments, that's when they really got to know us.

When we went in to look for new glasses this time, I asked them if they carried, or could order Specs 4 Us.  I'd heard about them on a Homeschooling and Down Syndrome yahoo group.  Specs 4  Us has frames that are specifically designed to fit the facial features that are typical of a person with Down syndrome.  I didn't feel comfortable ordering them without being able to see them on her, and the nearest place that sold them was a couple of hours away.  I didn't mind driving to the beach to check them out :), but I was worried about being able to get adjustments and repairs if I didn't purchase them locally.  The first person I asked at Denneyvision if they carried them or could order them said, "Nope, we don't have an account with them".

Jessie had decided that she wanted purple glasses....she would have been happy with pink also, but she knew she wanted glasses this time that were a cute color. This is the first time she's been old enough to express an opinion in the glasses shopping.  We tried on every pair of children's glasses that looked like something we would consider.  They all were not wide enough to fit her face.  We branched out to the teen and adult sections and looked around in the entire store (they have a ton of frames) and found 2 pair of "teen" glasses that were the closest possibilities. The two cute, purple pair of glasses seemed to fit the width of her face but the temples (arms/legs) were a couple of inches too long.  We were unsure whether the guys in the back could bend them into shape enough to work. Narrowing it down to those two took a long time so we had to leave and planned to come back the next day. 

This day when I came in, I had a different helper from the frame department.  When I mentioned that I wished they carried the Specs 4 Us, she immediately began researching whether they could order them or not.  She was willing and helpful but couldn't find out all she needed to know at that moment.  We left AGAIN, her distributor (?) was coming the next day and she was going to talk to them about whether they could order them.  She went to a couple of the doctors there, talking to them about our dilemma, she really went way out of her way trying to accomodate us.  She told me that we are not the only ones that have had a hard time, but that sometimes they order and have to send back and reorder (sometimes several times)  trying to find glasses that will work.  She said it would benefit them as well, to have some glasses that work for people with DS.  They have a pretty good amount of customers with DS so they found it worth their while to order some glasses rather than trying to make modifications to the ones they already have, and it not working perfectly.  She ordered 3 styles for us to check out and got them in just 2 days.  Today, Jessie is the proud owner of new, PURPLE glasses.   You can't tell anything about the color by this picture, but imagine they are purple :) You can see the actual glasses better by going to the link below.

They do fit differently.  The bridge across the nose is wider.  The temples are shorter, a good bit shorter, than the other ones we tried on.  They were able to warm them and mold them to still come behind her ear a little bit so they would "hold on" a little better.  It is hard getting used to her new look.  Her other glasses had gotten too small and I was used to looking at them.  These seem so much bigger. Although they are supposed to be fitted to not slide down on the nose, Jessie's are doing that, I am hoping this can be resolved with a little adjustment. After we've had them a bit, I will give an update to let everyone know how they are working out for us.

You can look at these glasses on line .  If, like me, you prefer to be able to get them locally, request that your eyeglasses place check them out. I'm not terribly assertive, and if Sally had not been so willing to help us, I would probably have ended up with other glasses that might not fit as well.  They have a great selection of colors that kids like.  They have sizes from toddler to adult.  Sally said that dealing with Specs 4 Us was very easy.  She said they were very helpful in determining which ones for her to order based on Jessie's measurements and style we were looking for AND didn't require that they set up an account that might have caused a delay.  Sally thanked me for bringing this to their attention, saying that otherwise they would never have known about them. 

I hope this info helps someone else that is having difficulty finding well fitting glasses for the person they love that has Down syndrome.


  1. we don't need glasse just yet, but from our last eye dr. appointment, they are in our not so distant future. Thanks for all the information and I LOVE the glasses! Jessie looks beautiful and so happy with them!

  2. Hannah has a pair of purple glasses just like that - and I got her the pink pair too - on the advice of a friend who has battled to keep glasses on her little darling. I think they are great and look great too.

  3. Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject! prescription glasses canada