A common question many parents have is: “When is my child old enough to wear contact lenses?” Contact lenses can offer several benefits over other forms of vision correction for kids but how do you know the timing is right?
Physically, your child’s eyes can tolerate contact lenses at a very young age. In fact, some babies are fitted with contact lenses due to eye conditions present at birth. In a recent study that involved fitting nearsighted children ages 8-11 with one-day disposable contact lenses, 90% had no trouble applying or removing the contacts without assistance from their parents.
A Matter of Maturity
The important question to ask yourself is whether your child is mature enough to insert, remove, and take care of their contact lenses. How they handle other responsibilities at home will give you a clue. If your child has poor grooming habits and needs frequent reminders to perform everyday chores, they may not be ready for the responsibility of wearing and caring for contact lenses. But if they are conscientious and handle these things well, they may be excellent candidates for contact lens wear, regardless of their age.
Contact Lenses for Sports
Many kids are active in sports. Contact lenses offer several advantages over glasses for these activities. Contacts don’t fog up, get streaked with perspiration, or get knocked off like glasses can. They also provide better peripheral vision than glasses, which is important for nearly every sport. There are even contact lenses with special tints to help your child see the ball easier.
Glasses Are Still Required
If your child chooses to wear contact lenses, they still need an up-to-date pair of eyeglasses. Contact lenses worn on a daily basis should be removed at least an hour before bedtime to allow the eyes to breathe. Also, there will be times when your child may want to wear their glasses instead of contact lenses. Contact lenses should always be removed immediately anytime they cause discomfort or eye redness.
Don’t Push Contacts on Your Kids
Motivation is often the most important factor in determining whether your son or daughter will be a successful contact lens wearer. If you wear contact lenses yourself and love them, that still doesn’t mean they are the right choice for your child. Some children like wearing glasses and have no desire to wear contact lenses.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. Often, a child may feel they don’t want contacts, but a year or two later, they change their mind.