If you have a child that wears glasses, there may come a point in time where he would ask you if he could wear contacts. At that point, you may be wondering if it’s even possible for kids to wear contact lens in the first place. Aren’t they too young? Will they able to handle the added responsibilities of owning a pair? So many questions!
The good news is that A) you’re not alone, because a lot of parents from across the globe face this same conundrum and B) your eye doctor can give you the lowdown on everything and will be able to answer most, if not all of your questions about contact lens and your child. So, should your child ditch her glasses for a pair of contacts? If you feel your child can’t handle it yet, tell her to wait a little bit and buy her a pair of trendy designer sunglasses instead.
Yeah, I know. You thought I had all the answers, but the reality is it all depends on your child. You’ll get the same reply from your eye doctor for sure. Why? Because just like Elsa’s magical Frozen snowflakes, every child is different and unique in his or her own way. Every child’s case would also be unique, as there are a multitude of eye problems that children either develop or are born with.
It’s not really because of the child’s age either, because even infants and toddlers with congenital cataracts or myopia have to be fitted with contact lenses to treat the problem so they can lead better, more productive lives. Remember, contacts lenses are medical devices that are used to address some of the limitations of eyeglasses.
Whether your child is eligible for a pair largely dependent on their condition and if the doctor would prescribe it, so before heading to the clinic, sit down with your child and ask them why they want one. It could be a self-esteem issue, because children (especially teenagers) are very self conscious about how they look. Do a little subtle snooping.
Know your Child
When it comes to wearing contacts, you would know best if your child can be responsible enough to use it. Again, it’s not about age, but your child’s maturity. Does she take her responsibilities seriously, such as homework or house chores? Does he clean up after himself and clean his room? Does she practice good hygiene like washing her hands before and after meals or brushing her teeth before going to bed?
These factors are important to consider when your child asks you about contact lenses. If they aren’t mature enough to handle the responsibility of cleaning their contacts, removing them at night or even washing their hands before touching their eyes, you may have an eye infection waiting to happen. But, if your child is completely the opposite and is responsible, mature, can take advice and follow instructions to a T, then he or she is in the right direction and would be a suitable candidate for contact lenses.
According to the FDA, there was a study published in Pediatrics about children and the Emergency Room. The numbers speak for themselves: out of 70,000 children rushed to the ER, 13,500 or roughly one-fourth are cases related to injuries or complications related to contact lenses such as eye abrasions and infections. The reason is lack of proper hygiene and responsibility.
Let’s assume for a second that your child was prescribed a set of contacts, but he always forgets to clean them and gets eye infections all the time. What if your child lost her contacts at school or in the mall or is generally forgetful of where she places them. What then? Well, you can always tell them they can revert back to wearing their glasses. They can always go back to wearing contacts when the time is right. No harm done.
When it comes to our kids, we all want what’s best for them. As parents, we know them more than they know themselves and if you feel they can handle the responsibility of wearing contacts, go for it. If your child is active in sports, the more she needs a pair because they’re safer and provide better peripheral vision. But, if it’s purely for cosmetic reasons, it would be best to take him to the doctor for an assessment and let the doctor help you explain the pros and cons of wearing contacts. Finally, the decision should ultimately fall on you as a parent.