Contact Lenses For Your Kids
July 26, 2022
Summer is the perfect time for your school-aged children to learn the ins and outs (literally!) of contact lenses. While it does take some patience and determination, freedom from glasses can be very beneficial for confidence and practicality in kids.
Why should my child wear contact lenses?
1. Convenience during physical activities
The most common reason a child wants contacts usually involves physical activities that make glasses inconvenient. Whether an organized sport or just running around at recess, glasses can get in the way. They can slip down the nose from sweat, get dirty, and even break causing potential eye injuries. Contact lenses eliminate the need for glasses during activities, which can improve peripheral vision and decrease the distraction of a frame sitting on the face.
2. Psychological perks
Some children with glasses feel outcasted for appearing differently than their peers. Contact lenses increase confidence and self-esteem in nearly all children and adults alike. This can be especially important during critical stages of social and physical development in the early teenage years, which can play a role in future success.
3. Difference in prescription between the eyes
Contacts can even provide better vision for certain prescriptions. Individuals with a significant difference in prescription between the eyes tend to benefit the most from contact lens wear. It can be difficult for the brain to interpret differing strengths of magnification or minification with glasses. Wearing contacts greatly decreases the impact of magnification/minification and can alleviate eyestrain associated with differences between the eyes.
4. Myopia control
The prevalence of myopia, or nearsightedness, in children has been steadily rising over the last 50 years. As the body continues to grow during adolescence, the eyes grow longer as well. This is part of the mechanism behind worsening nearsightedness in children. Specialized contact lens designs can limit the lengthening of the eyes, and therefore slow the progression of myopia. Rather than the glasses prescription getting worse by four steps each year, maybe it only gets worse by one or two steps in a year with the use of certain contact lenses. By cutting the progression in half through the school-aged years, it makes a big difference for an 18-year-old graduating high school with mild myopia compared to severe myopia. Stay tuned for future blog posts and exciting news about this topic!
At what age can my child start to wear contact lenses?
There is not a definitive age that marks when a child can begin wearing contact lenses. Some doctors will only offer the option of contacts to teenagers, while others will fit some children under 10 years old. Each child is different in terms of responsibility, maturity, and fine motor skills. All of these traits are necessary for success with contact lenses. Self-motivation is another important factor that is a driving force behind whether contact lenses are appropriate or not. Self-motivated personal hygiene (brushing teeth, combing hair, showering, changing clothing, etc.) is a good indicator of whether a child is ready for contacts.
Motivation is another major factor in the long-term success of wearing contacts. If there is a motivating reason behind the child’s desire for contacts, there is more interest and enthusiasm throughout the process. Learning how to insert and remove contacts can be frustrating at first. However, encouragement and support at home does help. After some practice, contact lens insertion and removal becomes routine, and children become efficient without any supervision or guidance.
Are contacts safe for children?
Absolutely! Adhering to proper lens care and the appropriate disposal schedule allows contacts to be safe for children of all ages. Even some infants need to wear specialty contact lenses for certain congenital eye conditions. One of our experienced optometric technicians will teach your child everything there is to know about wearing contacts: insertion and removal, disposal schedule, and troubleshooting any complications along the way. We are here to support your family and answer any questions you may have during this process.
Daily disposable contacts are the best option for kids and teenagers because they do not require as much care. The contacts are thrown away every night, and fresh lenses are inserted the next morning. This eliminates the need for disinfecting and reusing the same pair of contacts for a month. Let’s face it – kids are dirty. Soaking a pair of contacts in solution overnight does not remove 100% of the deposits and debris that can stick to a contact lens. By wearing daily disposable contacts, we are ensuring that a clean pair of contacts is used each day. This also decreases the risk of irritation and infection.
What if my child doesn’t want to wear contacts?
Contact lenses are not for everyone. Some children don’t have the fine motor skills necessary to delicately insert and remove contacts. Other kids don’t like touching their own eyes. Fortunately, there are many fun and stylish eyewear choices if contact lenses are not a viable option. Our goal is to make your family feel comfortable and confident in any given refractive correction, whether contacts or glasses.
Getting contacts is an exciting time for everyone! We can’t wait to fit you in a pair of contacts that allows you to see well and feel your best. Give us a call (717-652-7710) to schedule a contact lens fitting for you and your kids this summer!