Having a child with eye conditions that requires wearing glasses, contact lenses, or eye patches can be challenging and isolating for parents and kids alike. The Great Glasses Play Day, held locally on Saturday, May 2, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the OHSU Casey Eye Institute, is an international event designed to bring a sense of normalcy (and a lot of fun) to the lives of kids who wear glasses or eye patches.
The Portland event came to life with help from Ann of Little Four Eyes, an online support community for kids (and parents of kids) with glasses, Kristin Ellsworth of Peeps Eyewear and Jessica Butler of Eye Power Kid’s Wear.
“A lot of kids don’t see other kids in glasses or eye patches very often, so it’s an opportunity for them to get together and play,” said Jessica. Her son, Scott, was born with a congenital cataract in his left eye and has been a patient at Casey Eye Institute since he was 4 days old. “It’s really important for me personally just because my son has been through so much.”
The event gives kids with the opportunity to wear a patch or wear their glasses and not feel different for once, she said.
“Kids walk in looking kind of shy – you can tell their parents made them wear their patch,” Jessica said. “As soon as they start seeing all of the other kids and realize they’re wearing glasses or patches, too, they get so excited and really open up.”
It’s also a great time for parents and caretakers to meet up and find support, ask questions and share recommendations. Siblings and other family members are welcome, too – and they’ll be provided with glasses to wear if they start feeling out of place.
The event, which will feature carnival games, snacks, balloons and vision-related activities, is open to the public and to kids of all ages. Get more information and RSVP to the Portland event on Facebook here.