There was a time when wearing eyeglasses was considered distinctly “uncool,” especially among kids and teens.
Having glasses has changed a lot in recent years, and today, even celebrities are opting for glasses in an array of colors and styles — not just for better vision, but to make their own personal style statement!
Still, many kids often prefer the idea of wearing contact lenses instead of glasses. And there are certain situations, like competitive sports, where contacts might be a better choice.
At ABC Children's Eye Specialists, our team offers both eyeglasses and contact lenses for kids and teens in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona. If your child is interested in contacts, here’s how to decide if they’re old enough to handle the added responsibilities involved in caring for their lenses and using them responsibly.
Best age for contact lenses
While there’s no hard rule about the age when a child can begin weaning contact lenses, most doctors agree that kids younger than age 12 typically aren’t ideal candidates. But there are exceptions.
Specifically, some contact lenses are used to correct significant vision issues, like nearsightedness, while your child’s eyes are still growing. These lenses prevent nearsightedness from getting worse, while also improving your child’s vision.
The FDA has approved these lenses for kids as young as 8 years old, with the duration of wear and other factors decided by the child’s ophthalmologist based on the child’s specific needs.
These lenses are used more or less as an ongoing vision treatment, and therefore differ from lenses chosen for cosmetic reasons. For these kids, parents should consider a few factors when deciding if their child is ready for contacts.
Perhaps the most important consideration is whether your child is mature enough and responsible enough to understand and follow lens care instructions. Any deviation in proper care and cleaning can result in severe eye infections, and even vision loss.
Your child needs to fully understand and appreciate the importance of thoroughly washing their hands before touching their lenses or their eyes.
They also need to practice proper lens care, cleaning, and storage routines. If your child is forgetful, disorganized, or simply not motivated to follow lens care and use routines, it’s almost certainly a good idea to wait before getting contacts.
Different types of lenses also involve a different wear schedule. While some lenses are made for daily wear and daily disposal, others are to be re-used for set periods of time before being swapped out for new lenses.
Lenses should never be worn overnight, so you need to feel confident your child will remember to take out their lenses before sleep each and every night — no exception.
Like lens care, lens wear depends on your child’s levels of maturity and responsibility, as well as their personal motivation for wearing lenses.
Reasons for wear
Of course, helping your child feel confident and secure in their image and appearance is important when considering contact lenses versus eyeglasses. But there are other reasons, too.
If your child wants to play sports, contact lenses could be a better choice for them. Our team can help by considering all of the factors that contribute to the decision, so you and your child feel confident in an eyewear choice.
Make the right choice for your child
Making eye care decisions for yourself is one thing; making decisions for your child can be a lot more difficult, especially when you want your child to have some autonomy over their own health and personal needs.
Our team is skilled in working with kids and teens to help them understand their own needs and options, helping parents and their kids feel confident and content.
If your child is interested in contact lenses, the first step is scheduling an eye exam. To set up your child’s exam, call our offices to book an appointment with the team at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists today.