About 45 million Americans wear contact lenses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and nearly 10% are teenagers. Leaving glasses behind can be a big confidence-booster for your teen, but contact lenses do take some extra care to avoid eye problems.
Knowing how to help your teen transition to their new contacts can help them stay safe while giving you some extra peace of mind.
As leading providers of eyeglasses and contact lenses for teens in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona,
the experts at ABC Children's Eye Specialists understand the important role parents play in helping teens get used to their new lenses.
Take a moment as the team offers eight “bits of wisdom” you can share with your teen to help them get the most from their new lenses.
1. Never sleep in contact lenses
Contacts do require special care when they’re removed, and when you’re really tired, it can be tempting to leave them in. But doing so dramatically increases the risk of developing a serious eye infection.
Make sure your child understands that they must remove their lenses prior to going to sleep, even if it means removing them early and switching over to eyeglasses.
2. Make hygiene a priority
Unlike eyeglasses, contact lenses come in direct contact with the eye surface. That means hygiene is especially important to help your child avoid eye infections that could lead to vision loss.
Make sure your child washes their hands well with perfume-free, lotion-free soap before they handle their lenses, whether it’s putting them in or taking them out.
3. Use fresh lens cleaner
Contact lenses must be cleaned with a lens cleaner — never plain water or any other solution. Lens cleaners should be replaced every three months; preservative-free solutions need to be replaced more often.
When cleaning their lenses, your teen should carefully follow the cleaning directions provided by the manufacturer of the lens cleaner. Soft lenses need to be rubbed with solution for several seconds to remove debris and microorganisms. Make sure your teen doesn’t skip this vital step.
4. Clean the case, too
Your teen should clean their contact lens case every day with clean lens solution to remove any tiny bits of dust that might lodge on their lenses and scratch their corneas. Replace the case every three months, and only use a case designed to hold contact lenses.
5. Keep the glasses
Once your teen is fitted for contacts, it’s very tempting to ditch the glasses. Tell your teen to keep their glasses for “backup” in case there’s a problem with their lenses or they have an eye infection.
6. Replace lenses as directed
Contact lenses need to be replaced regularly to help prevent eye infections and other vision issues. The frequency of replacement depends in part on the type of lens your child has.
Many teens benefit from daily wear lenses that eliminate the cleaning process. With daily wear lenses, your teen uses a fresh pair of lenses every day, discarding each worn pair before going to bed.
7. Don’t buy lenses online
Shopping online is fine for some items, but not for contact lenses. Remind your teen that their contacts are medical devices designed to help them see better.
To get the right lenses for their vision and their eye health, they need to visit an eye doctor who can perform a comprehensive exam, adjust their prescription when needed, and ensure their lenses are of the highest quality possible.
8. Don’t ignore eye issues
Tell your child to let you know if their eyes are red, itchy, “burning,” or sore, or if they have any changes in vision. Any change in the way your teen sees or the way their eyes feel needs to be evaluated by our team right away. Even a small delay could lead to a more serious problem, like an eye infection.
If you or your teen have any questions about contact lenses, we’re ready to answer them. Book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists today.