What’s the Right Age for Children to Get Contact Lenses?
Written by: @GabDiesendorf
Maybe it’s the Halloween hype when your kids ask you to get them those colored lenses to complete their cool costume, or maybe they feel awkward wearing glasses all the time. But parents often face this conundrum with kids as young as eight or ten, and it becomes important to decide whether or not your kids are old enough for lenses, why they need them, and how they might benefit from them.
However, age is not the sole factor that plays a role in making the right decision for your little nestlings, so before you make up your mind, consider the following as well.
No cookie-cutter answer
First of all, the number alone is not a valid indicator when it comes to this decision, because some kids are surprisingly mature for their age, very responsible and disciplined, while others struggle to cope even with the simplest of chores without constant reminders.
Optometrists can prescribe lenses to kids as young as eight, and even some infants with eye-related conditions can be fitted with lenses as soon as they are born. However, if your child has a mild issue with vision, then the decision needs to be based on their level of responsibility, how well they care for their own hygiene and if they are able to follow instructions without parental help when they need to take care of their lenses.
Some kids might even have a clear need for lenses instead of glasses, because they play a sport or participate in other physical activities that are impractical for wearing glasses. Not only will their vision be limited, but they also risk getting hurt despite their glass being impact-resistant, as the frame can get broken, and the glass foggy, thus blurring their vision.
Lenses are perfect for such situations, as they enable your kids to move freely in any sport of their choice, they are designed to stay in place, provide them with clear vision, and prevent vision-related issues during training or competition.
Finding the right fit
Before you settle for contacts, you should do a bit of research, not only to learn about proper care, but also to check all your options in order to find the best match for your kids. There’s plenty of available information about contact lenses online, while reviews and past experiences can be of great help to determine the perfect pair. Of course, your doctor can be of great help in the process, so always consult a professional before you make the call.
For example, it’s good to know that there are various materials used for lenses, and certain types can be worn only during the day (meaning your little one will need to take them off before bedtime), others can be worn for even up to a week or even a month. Their cleaning rules may also differ, and some can be disposable, reusable or require frequent replacement. If your child suffers from nearsightedness, certain lenses may help prevent further progression, or at least slow it down.
Creating a positive self-image
Kids are often curious about lenses for the sole purpose of aesthetics, as they may be facing some form of bullying or teasing at school. It’s important to establish the real reason of their interest, and even though they may be a perfect candidate for lenses, you should still address the underlying issue to improve their self-confidence and prevent further discomfort.
Studies have shown that kids who wear contact lenses show an increased level of confidence and feel better about themselves than those who keep wearing glasses despite their shyness and anxiety. This can be even more prominent when they become teenagers, and grow even more sensitive to their looks – maybe lenses will help ease this already awkward transitional period of their lives.
Perks and precautions
Kids are, fortunately, easily adaptable when it comes to switching to lenses, and they don’t have that pesky issue with dry eyes as we grownups do. Plus, as mentioned before, kids suffering from nearsightedness can use lenses to slow down or stop the worsening of their condition, making it an excellent choice for many youngsters. They are affordable, come in many forms for simple use, and they make it easier for kids to take up sports.
There are a few drawbacks to keep in mind, however. If they aren’t cleaned properly, they may cause infections or eye irritations, so it’s essential to teach your kids to care for them from day one. It’s also important to keep track of their usage in order to replace them when necessary and have regular checkups with your kids’ doctor to make sure they’re wearing the right lenses for their needs.