Contact Lenses For Children – Is Your Child Ready To Wear Contact Lenses?
Over 30 million Americans wear contact lenses, and approximately 10% are children and teenagers age 18 years and younger.
What Are Contact Lenses?
Contact lenses are thin disks of specialized plastic that float in the tears on the surface of the eyes and are used to correct vision for the same conditions glasses do, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. For children with otherwise healthy eyes and the ability to care for them, contact lenses are a safe and effective alternative to glasses when used and handled with proper care and maintenance.
At What Age Can My Child Start Wearing Contact Lenses?
No definite lower age limit defines when children can start wearing contact lenses. Some very young babies with specific types of eye problems may start wearing contact lenses within the first week of life. For these infants, all the contact lens care is provided by the parents.
Older children who may not like the way glasses look or may feel that glasses interfere with sports and/or other activities often inquire about contact lenses as an alternative to their glasses. Some children with very large focusing errors often see better with properly fitted contact lenses than with glasses because of the image distortion from very thick lenses.
The appropriate age to consider wearing contact lenses is the age at which the child, not the parent, is mature and responsible enough to care for his/her own contact lenses, including the cleaning, insertion and removal of the lenses. The child should be hygienic and conscientious enough to take care of contact lenses on a daily basis. Most children can start wearing contact lenses between the ages of 10 and 12.
It is important to examine your childs motivation for wanting contacts and his/her level of commitment to the proper care, maintenance, and recommended scheduled replacement of contact lenses in order to determine if your child is “ready” for contact lenses.
Where Should I Take My Child To Get Contact Lenses?
Choose an eye care professional who is experienced with fitting contact lenses for children and who provides full-service care. This includes a complete eye examination and evaluation of your childs suitability for contact lenses, contact lens care kits, contact lenses, individual instruction for their proper care and safe handling, and follow-up visits.
Your eye care professional should perform a comprehensive eye examination to diagnose and treat any eye problems that may prevent healthy lens wear and be able to correct and treat any problems that may arise during lens wear.
Receiving proper eye care services and optimal contact lens selection are a great step toward your childs safe and successful use of contact lenses.