Kids and contact lenses

Kids and contact lenses

In this post we help you determine the right age for your child to start wearing contact lenses and the benefits of contact lens wear for children.

“At what age can my child wear contact lenses?” a question asked by many parents. There appears to be a widespread perception that contact lenses are unsuitable for young children. This post focuses on when and why you should consider getting contact lenses for your child, the benefits, and how to determine if your child is ready to take care of contact lenses every day.

When will your child be ready for contact lenses?

Behavioral Optometrist, Casha Mentjies of Eyetek Optometrists reckons there is no minimum age for contact lens wear. She actually fits infants with lenses - this is usually indicated after a congenital cataract operation, with an isometropia (a significantly higher prescription in one eye compared to the other), or simply when the baby requires a prescription but cannot tolerate spectacles and constantly pulls them off.

What you need to consider here is not age, but responsibility: who will be taking care of the lenses? If your child can take care of his/her own personal hygiene without prompting, they may be ready for the responsibility of correctly cleaning and storing their own lenses. For very young children (under 6 years) it is preferable that the parent handles the insertion, removal and care of the lenses.

Another consideration is the child’s motivation levels. If the child is the one asking to wear contact lenses they are more likely to be successful wearers than the case where a parent is putting pressure on the child to try.

Benefits of contact lens wear for children

A recent study by the Ohio State College of Optometry showed that children wearing contact lenses felt significantly better about themselves compared to permanent spectacle wearers in three specific areas: athletic competence, social acceptance and physical appearance. The subjects in the study were between the ages of 8 and 11 years which is younger than traditionally thought to be an appropriate age for contact lens wear.

Contact lenses can help children feel better about themselves socially, and do better in school as a result. Whilst we’re still talking about eyesight, you might want to read our article on short-sightedness in children to learn how you can reduce the risk of your child becoming short-sighted.

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