Imogen inspires vision for specs
IMOGEN ‘Immy’ Leslie shrieks with delight as she and her sister Stella put the finishing touches on their afternoon’s work – a five-storey Duplo building.
Her attention is so fixed on the construction work, the four-year-old doesn’t realise she no longer has to break every few minutes to re-adjust her glasses.
Living with Down syndrome means Imogen finds it hard to find a pair of glasses that fits well – but mum Rachel Leslie has hatched a plan to change that.
The need for better-fitting glasses to suit the face shape of a child with Down syndrome put Mrs Leslie on a global search which has resulted in a new business for the Warwick family.
Until now, Immy has had to wear regular shaped glasses with an attached strap that wrapped behind her head to hold them in place.
Mrs Leslie said those glasses were also uncomfortable for Immy.
“Kids with Down syndrome have a flatter nose which gets wider nearer the bottom, so (without the strap) the glasses would slip down until the place where the nose was wide enough to hold them – and that defeated the purpose of wearing them because she’d look over the top,” she said.
“Often Immy would get red marks on the top of the nose from the band (holding the glasses on) being too tight.”
The other issue with regular glasses, Mrs Leslie explained, was the difference in width of the lenses compared to the width of the face.
When Mrs Leslie went to buy custom-made glasses, she was shocked at the price tag.
After a bit of research, Mrs Leslie stumbled across a wholesaler in the US who could offer a much more affordable price.
“When I contacted her, I found there was no distributor in Australia and we saw the opportunity and said we’d do it,” she said.
“It’s significantly cheaper this way. We buy the glasses wholesale, which means we can keep our cost down for other parents and the time it takes for the glasses to arrive (from the US) is not long at all.”
The glasses themselves have a lower bridge over the nose, which pushes the glasses higher up and over the child’s eyes. The lenses are also smaller and better fitted.
If all goes to plan, Mrs Leslie said the company would be called Re-specs – a name which not only referred to the special glasses, but also highlighted respect for those with Down syndrome.
Mrs Leslie said she hoped to sell the product to parents and optometrists.
The family hopes to have a Facebook page up and running by July, but those who would like to put in an order can visit the website www.specs4us.com.