Does your child want to wear contact lenses instead of eyeglasses? You are probably wondering if it’s a good idea or not. Actually, contact lenses offer specific benefits over other vision correction eyewear for children.
More than age, maturity is the main consideration that goes into deciding whether contact lenses are appropriate for your child. Physically, children’s eyes can tolerate lenses from a very young age. Even babies with certain eye conditions present at birth are treated with contact lenses. In addition, a recent study conducted on nearsighted children between the ages of 8 to 11, demonstrated that 90% of the kids had no difficulty inserting or removing one-day disposable lenses – with no help from an adult.
Note: Your child could start earlier, but it depends on the child and parental involvement. Daily disposables can be worn for kids under 15, but parents must be responsible to make sure the contacts are removed no later than 12-hours. Children who participate in sports have started as early as elementary school, but parents play a big role.
Signs of Maturity in Your Child
How do you know if your child is mature enough for contact lenses? You’ll need to assess whether they are able to insert, remove and take care of the lenses independently. One indication of the maturity necessary for these actions is your child’s general level of responsibility.
Does this child take on and successfully manage responsibilities at home? If so, that’s a good sign. Or does your child need constant reminders to do daily chores? Do they have poor grooming habits? If so, that’s an indication that wearing contact lenses may be premature.
Regardless of age, a conscientious child is the best candidate for lenses.
Advantages of Contact Lenses for Children
There are a number of reasons why contacts may be better suited than eyeglasses for your child’s visual condition and lifestyle. Some of these benefits include:
- Contact Lenses for Sports
When playing hard, running or engaging in physical contact sports, eyeglasses tend to slip off due to perspiration, get knocked off or fog up. Eyeglasses also limit your child’s peripheral vision, which is key for top sports performance. Contact lenses may resolve all of these issues. Specially tinted contacts may even help your child see the ball easier!
Soft contact lenses are generally the ideal choice for sports. Larger and with a more secure fit on the eye than rigid gas permeable (GP) lenses, soft lenses don’t carry the same risk of getting dislodged or knocked out during a game.
- A Way to Control Nearsightedness
Hard, rigid gas permeable (GP) contact lenses may be a superior option for children with myopia (nearsightedness). Durable GP lenses typically offer crisper vision than soft lenses.
Orthokeratology, referred to as ortho-k, is a modified technique for fitting GP lenses in order to temporarily reverse myopia. The ortho-k contacts are worn nightly while sleeping and removed in the morning. Nearsighted children should then be able to see clearly with no lenses needed throughout the day.
Multifocal soft lenses, which have various lens powers within different zones of the contact, have also been found to help control myopia.
- Boost Self-Esteem with Contact Lenses
Is your child embarrassed to wear eyeglasses? Many children are so uncomfortable with their appearance in glasses that they become very self-conscious about how they look. In this case, contact lenses are an excellent way to enhance your child’s self-esteem. Participation in school and social activities often improves when children make the switch from eyeglasses to contact lenses.
Hold On to those Eyeglasses!
An up-to-date pair of eyeglasses is still necessary to keep around even if your child begins to wear contact lenses. Eyes need to breath, and contacts that are worn daily must be removed at least an hour before bedtime. There may also come a time when your child prefers eyeglasses over lenses. In the event of any eye redness or discomfort, contact lenses must be removed immediately.
Motivation is the Main Criterion
Who wants the contact lenses, you or your child? This is the most important factor in determining success with lenses. Just because you may wear contacts and simply love them doesn’t mean they’re right for your child. Some kids favor eyeglasses and the cool, fashionable look they can create!
Timing is also significant. Your child may decide against contact lenses right now, but become interested in wearing them a few years later. For success, good vision and healthy eyes with contact lenses, it’s important to never push children into wearing them.