A common question many parents have about contact lenses and their child is, "When is my child old enough to wear contact lenses?"
Physically, your child's eyes can tolerate contact lenses at a very young age. Some babies are fitted with specialty contact lenses due to eye conditions present at birth. In a recent study that involved fitting nearsighted children of 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 is whether or not your child is mature enough to insert, remove and take care of their contact lenses. 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. If they are conscientious and handle responsibility well, then they may be an excellent candidate for contact lens wear, regardless of their age.
Contact Lenses for Sports
Many children are active in sports. Contact lenses offer several advantages over glasses for these activities. Contact lenses do not fog up, get streaked with perspiration, or get knocked off like glasses can. Contact lenses also provide better peripheral vision which is important for nearly every sport. There are even contact lenses with special tints to help your child see the ball easier.
For sports, soft contact lenses are usually the best choice. They are larger and fit closer to the eye than rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, so there is very little chance they will dislodge or get knocked off during competition.
If your young son or daughter is nearsighted, rigid gas permeable (RGP) contacts may be a good option. In some cases, RGP contact lenses may slow the progression of nearsightedness in children. Rigid gas permeable lenses often provide sharper vision than soft contacts.
Building Self-Esteem with Contact Lenses
Some children do not like the way they look in glasses and become overly self-conscious about their appearance when wearing them. Wearing contact lenses can often elevate how they feel about themselves and improve their self confidence. Sometimes their school performance and participation in social activities improves after they switch to contact lenses.
Glasses are Still Required
If your child chooses to wear contact lenses, they still need an up-to-date pair of eyeglasses. There will be times when your child will not be able to wear their contact lenses and they will need their eyeglasses. Also, there will be times when your child may want to wear their glasses instead of contact lenses. Remember, contact lenses should be removed immediately any time they cause discomfort or eye redness.
Timing is Important
Motivation is often the most important factor in determining whether your son or daughter will be a successful contact lens wearer. Even though you may wear contact lenses and love them, it does not mean your child is ready and will love them too. Some children like wearing glasses and have no desire to wear contact lenses.
Sometimes it is just a matter of timing. Often a child may feel they do not want contacts, but a year or two later, they do. There is always time to make that decision.
When Your Child is Ready to try Contacts
When you and your child agree it is time for contact lenses, please call our office at 512-255-7070 to schedule a contact lens consultation. Our team welcomes the opportunity to help children of all ages enjoy wearing contact lenses.