Contact lenses are a very popular option for visual correction. Many people choose contact lenses over traditional glasses because of the comfort, clear vision, and cosmetic benefit they offer. With these benefits in mind, many parents and children have questions about the right age to try contact lenses. When is the right age to start wearing contacts? What are the risks of switching to contact lenses? What are the benefits? These are great questions to address with your optometrist before trying contacts for the first time. Continue reading to learn the answer to these questions and more.
When is the Right Time for Contact Lenses?
There is no definitive age that determines when children can try contact lenses. Kids usually become interested in trying contacts around their teenage years, though younger children can successfully wear contact lenses as well. While age is not necessarily a factor in deciding when to switch to contact lenses, the responsibility of the child is. In order to be a good contact lens candidate, kids must be able to following instructions regarding cleaning, storing, and handling their lenses, and they must have the diligence to remove and replace their lenses when directed. Personal hygiene, including thorough hand washing and keeping contact lens cases clean, is necessary for successful contact lens wear. Even the low maintenance options, such as daily disposable lenses, require a certain amount of responsibility. While some kids are naturally more responsible and may be able to easily manage the duties that come with wearing contact lenses, others may struggle. This factor needs to be considered before agreeing to start wearing contact lenses.
Are Contact Lenses Safe for Kids?
If the lenses are properly worn, cleaned, stored, and replaced, contact lenses are a safe corrective option. If contacts are not correctly worn or cared for, the risks include irritation, discomfort, mild injury to the front of the eye, and even serious infections, so responsibility and diligence is important for protecting the health of the eyes. Traditional lenses do not inhibit or alter the development of the eye or vision, so it is safe for children to wear them while they are still growing. Children typically require more time to learn how to safely insert and remove contact lenses independently, but with plenty of practice kids can use contacts as safely and efficiently as adults.
When Are Contacts a Good Option for Children?
Many teens choose to switch from glasses to contact lenses for cosmetic reasons. Giving children independence from spectacles can help them feel more comfortable and confident. However, this is far from the only benefit of contact lenses. For teens who play sports, contact lenses can be a convenient option to provide clear vision during their activity without relying on sports goggles. Children who have strong prescriptions usually notice their vision is clearer with contact lenses. This is because contacts eliminate the distortions associated with thick lenses and heavy glasses. In some cases, contact lenses can even be used to slow the progression of myopia, or nearsightedness.