Eyeglasses provide many benefits, but they can also be cumbersome, particularly for children who often lead active lifestyles, with involvement in sports and other activities. Then there’s the “coolness” factor–while eyeglasses come in many stylish designs these days, kids may still feel awkward wearing them. These factors can make kids want to try contact lenses instead–but is that a good idea?
From a physiological perspective, contact lenses are perfectly safe for children and teenagers. The problem with young people wearing contact lenses has to do with their maturity level and responsibility.
Here are some frequently asked questions about kids wearing contact lenses.
Is There an Appropriate Age for Wearing Contacts?
Children of any age can theoretically wear contacts. The main thing is to ensure your child is mature enough to handle the responsibilities that come with wearing contact lenses. More specifically, they should be able to insert and remove the lenses by themselves as well as practice good hygiene. Proper handling of contact lenses is very important as it prevents the risk of complications.
Many adolescents wear contact lenses since they are generally mature enough to observe proper hygiene and take proper care of their contact lenses. If your child is a little younger, consult with your optician and have them help you figure out the best eye care solution for your child.
How Can I Tell If My Child Would Be Able Handle Contact Lenses Safely?
Start by explaining to your child the responsibilities involved in wearing contacts. This way, they’ll have a general idea of the habits and practices they should develop. Sit down with them and ask them if they would be comfortable to insert and remove the lenses by themselves at appropriate times. Ensure that they understand the importance of properly disinfecting the contacts as well as maintaining good personal hygiene. There’s no need to scare them about the consequences of improperly wearing lenses. However, make sure that the risks are clear to them and they can make a commitment to follow their eye doctor’s instructions. Lastly, ask them about their reason for wanting contact lenses. This way, you can also understand their needs and better guide them in this transition.
Are Disposable Contacts Safe for Kids?
There are two types of disposable contact lenses: daily disposables and planned replacement lenses. Daily disposable lenses are thrown away after a single use, so they’re generally more expensive and less environmentally friendly. Planned replacement lenses can be worn during the day and stored in a clean lens case at night or when they’re not in use. These lenses are discarded after a prescribed period, typically ranging from two weeks up to 30 days.
To ensure that you won’t run out of lenses, you can ask your optician for automatic refills. This way your child won’t be tempted to over-extend the use of their contacts, which can lead to eye infections. When choosing between these two types of disposable lenses, you should weigh the pros and cons of each. Considering the habits or tendencies of your child may also help you arrive at the best choice. If you’re still uncertain, consult with your child’s eye care professional. They can help you compare the two options, especially in terms of convenience and cost, and guide you to make the right decision.
Is There a Risk of Complications From Wearing Contacts?
Kids generally face the same risks of complications as adults. Most of these complications are caused by poor hygiene. That’s why it’s critical to ensure your child is mature enough to handle the responsibility of contact lenses. Here are a few reminders that you should impart to your child:
Never sleep or swim with your contacts still in your eyes.
Never use saliva or tap water to clean the lenses. Make sure to only use the contact lens cleaning solution recommended by your eye doctor.
Your contact lens case should be changed every three months to reduce the risk of eye infection.
Ensure that your child understands the consequences of poor hygiene. Failure to observe proper hygiene can cause bacteria to contaminate the lenses, which can result in an abrasion, infection or corneal ulcer.
Where Is the Best Place to Buy Contacts for My Child?
Make sure to purchase your child’s contact lenses only from trusted vendors. Online shops and eye care chains are fine as long as there is a fitting and a prescription involved. Take note that your child’s contact lens fitting should be done by an eye care professional.
Eye doctors don’t recommend buying from corner stores that do not specialize in eye care. Even if you’re only getting cosmetic lenses, it’s important to have the lenses custom-fitted to your eyes. An incorrect fit can cause abrasions and ulcers, so be careful where you purchase your contacts. For example, contacts bought at costume stores may have been manufactured without proper regulatory oversight, so it’s best to avoid them completely.
What Are the Best Practices for Wearing Contacts?
Make sure that your child follows these eye safety precautions when wearing contact lenses:
Wash your hands before handling the lenses. Ensure that your hands are completely dry, and consider using a lint-free cloth so that no residue will be left on your hands.
Do not wear the lenses for very long hours or beyond the period prescribed by your eye doctor.
Follow your doctor’s instructions on how to properly clean, rinse, rub and disinfect your contacts.
Never lend your contacts to other people or use someone else’s lenses.
Never expose your contacts to any kind of water or saliva.
Wear eyeglasses instead of contacts if either of your eyes are red.
Wear your contacts before applying makeup, and take them off before removing your makeup.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience eye itching, irritation, redness or burning. Also, make sure to remove your contacts ASAP.
Make sure to still wear safety goggles or protective eyewear when playing sports or doing other activities.
Keep a pair of back-up eyeglasses wherever you go.
It pays to prepare your child before getting them contact lenses. This can help them assess their own capabilities and readiness for wearing contact lenses.
Call Clearfinity Eyecare Optometrist Today
If you have more questions about children and contact lenses, our staff at Clearfinity Eyecare Optometrist would be happy to help. We understand that every patient’s needs are unique; that’s why we ensure personalized optical services. To learn more about how we can help with your eye care needs, call us at (703) 293-5222 or fill out our contact form. We serve customers in Gunston Heights and Woodbridge, VA.