Children Can Wear Contact Lenses Too
Parents I speak with are often unaware that children can wear contact lenses from quite a young age – even infants can be prescribed and fitted with soft contact lenses in certain situations.
If this is new information for you, then you may have a few questions. Let me start by giving answers to some of the most frequently asked questions I receive.
What is the best age for children to start wearing contact lenses?
When it comes to wearing contact lenses, there is no ‘best age’ just as there is no ‘age restriction’ on when a child can begin wearing contacts. It depends on the child and the eye condition being treated. It is important to bring your child in for a comprehensive eye examination, so we can assess their suitability for contact lenses.
Are contact lenses safe for children?
Soft contact lenses are as safe for children as they are for adults if worn and handled correctly. As the lenses are in direct contact with the eye, parents may be concerned about an increased risk of eye infections. Most infections however, are the result of improper handling and storage of the contact lenses. Handling the lenses hygienically and storing and caring for the lenses properly are tasks a child can easily accomplish with adult supervision. As with adults, contacts are completely safe providing:
• The lenses are fitted correctly
• Regular check-ups are maintained
• Good hygiene is observed
• Lenses are not shared with other users
• Contacts are removed immediately if irritation occurs
Can children put contacts in themselves?
I have found that children quickly become experts at putting soft contact lenses in themselves once they have done it a few times. Children are fast learners and feel quite proud to be responsible for such a grown-up task!
When your child’s contact lenses arrive, we ask you bring them in for an initial appointment to fit the lenses. After we have checked for fit and visual acuity, we spend time coaching your child how to insert their contact lenses until they feel confident inserting them themselves.
What if my child has difficulty putting the contacts in?
There are several tools available to assist children to insert and remove contact lenses. Some children prefer to use them instead of using their fingers to put in the contacts. We can guide them on how to use those tools properly if this is their preference.
What if my child has an astigmatism?
There are contact lenses available which are designed to correct astigmatism and they are just as effective for children as for adults.
Are contact lenses for children expensive?
Contact lenses are not more expensive for children than for adults. Children wear the same contact lenses that are available for adult wearers. Improved technology has made contact lenses less expensive than they once were and more affordable for families.
The price of contacts can vary due to the manufacturer of the lens, type of lens and the material the lens is made from. For example, you can buy daily soft contact lenses, or monthly soft contact lenses. Some lenses are made of regular hydrogel and some are made of silicon hydrogel; each type provides different benefits.
While determining the best contact lenses for your child, we are aware that families frequently have competing financial obligations and we can often present more than one solution. 😊
What are the Main Types of Contact Lenses?
Each type of contact lens has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the requirements of the wearer.
Disposable Contacts. Disposable contact lenses are prescribed most often for children under the age of 13. In this category are daily disposable lenses and monthly disposable lenses. They are comfortable to wear and easier to care for than regular soft contacts making them a good option if your child participates in sport activities.
Soft Contacts. Soft contact lenses are very flexible, and easy to adjust. They require cleaning and sterilizing and are usually more comfortable for children than gas permeable contact lenses.
Gas permeable Contacts. Gas permeable contact lenses are made from a more rigid material than disposable or soft lenses. These lenses may correct vision better than soft contact lenses in certain situations – for example if a child has a cornea that is misshapen.
Ortho-k Contacts. Orthokeratology aka ‘Ortho-K’ contact lenses, are lenses that are worn while your child sleeps and removed each morning. The benefits and applications of Ortho-K lenses is not the topic of this article. Click on the links to learn more about this solution.
What are the benefits of contact lenses for children?
. Sports performance: contact lenses work much better for physical activities and contact sports
. School performance: your child’s attitude toward wearing glasses may affect how well they integrate and learn at school.
. Safety: increased peripheral vision means greater safety crossing roads and participating in busy environments.
. Practical in all seasons.
. In the rain: no need to remove glasses and wipe rain from the lenses.
. In the sun: wear kid’s sunglasses and protect the eyes from the sun
. No broken or lost glasses.
. Increased confidence.
. Improved self-esteem.
Freedom is at the heart of a child’s journey toward more natural vision.
The look on a child’s face when they can see clearly without wearing their glasses is priceless!
It is easy to get started.
Call us or book an appointment online today to see if your child is suitable for contact lenses.
NOTE: While many children can wear contact lenses (and do), contacts are not suitable for all children – so it is important for you to come and see us with your child.
Contact Lenses TIP
School holidays can be a great time for children to start using contact lenses. Your child will have a few weeks to get used to them while they are at home.