Contact Lenses + Teenagers – What you need to know…
With contact lens care now easier and more convenient than ever before, wearing contacts has become more of a possibility for teens, preteens, and most children. As a general rule, there is no age limit for contact lenses, it all depends on the maturity and motivation of the child. Just one easy eye exam will confirm whether contacts are an option. If you are considering fitting your teenager with contact lenses, here are a few things to think about.
There really isn’t a perfect age to start wearing contacts. Kids mature at different rates. When considering contacts, think about your child’s level of responsibility. Wearing contact lenses requires a good deal of responsibility. Properly cleaning and caring for lenses is essential for maintaining good eye health and reducing any chance of developing eye infections. If your child is capable of following detailed instructions without needing reminders, they are probably ready for the responsibility of wearing contacts.
Make sure your teen wants to wear contacts. Teenagers are notorious for giving in to peer pressure. Does he/she really want the responsibility that comes with wearing contacts? Or is he/she being influenced by her contact-wearing friends? Maybe he/she is embarrassed to wear eyeglasses. Talking seriously about the possible risks of contacts may be enough to make your teen have second thoughts.
Most teenagers are self-conscious about their appearance. Wearing a pair of eyeglasses may make them feel more self conscious. Wearing contact lenses can help children and teenagers feel more self-confident about their appearance, as has been shown in multiple studies on the topic.
Today contact lenses are designed to be comfortable to wear. Your teenager may wonder if it will hurt to wear contacts, but most people find them completely painless. The best way to describe the sensation of a contact lens on the eye on the first wear is like having a raindrop fall into the eye – it’s cool and wet, but not uncomfortable at all. At Eyeconic Optometry our eye care professionals will teach your teen how to properly insert and remove their contacts.
Although contact lenses do come with a small risk of eye infection, it is greatly impacted by the cleaning and care of the lenses, hence why we place such emphasis on the maturity of the child to care for their own contact lenses and do so safely. However, contact lenses may be safer than eyeglasses for teenagers in some situations. Unlike glasses, they are unlikely to be damaged while participating in sports. Also, if a sport requires safety goggles, it is much easier and more comfortable to wear with contact lenses than over eyeglasses. Contacts also don’t fog up or distort vision as glasses often do.
The cost of wearing contacts varies. Disposable lenses are popular with parents because they don’t require any cleaning supplies or lens cases. Many Optometrists feel that daily disposable contacts are the best vision correction option for most teens because they are disposed of at the end of each day. This is great as it reduces the chance of developing any nasty eye infections from improper care of reusable lenses. However, parents remember: a backup pair of eyeglasses is always recommended to have on standby.
There are a few advantages of wearing contact lenses.
- Contacts won’t get in the way during sports, dancing, or other activities.
- There is no spectacle frame rim to interfere with side, (or peripheral) vision.
- Contacts won’t steam up or slide down your nose during activity.
- Contacts eliminate the annoying pressure behind your ears caused by glasses.
- Contact lenses can change your eye colour.
Wearing contacts requires safe and responsible behaviour. Here are a few important rules to discuss.
- Follow your optometrist’s instructions for caring for and wearing your contacts.
- Tell your parents if your eyes become irritated by the contacts or if your vision becomes unclear.
- Be careful not to accidentally tear/damage your contact lens or, if you accidentally do, never wear that lens.
- Never swap contact lenses with another person.
- Schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor.