Thinking about getting contacts for your kids? A lot of parents see the benefits of and prefer contacts over other types of vision assistance but are stuck asking when their child will be old enough.
Talking from a scientific perspective, contact lenses can be worn at a pretty young age– we’re talking babies in some cases. Research has shown that 9 in 10 children from eight to eleven years can properly take out and put in contacts without parental help. But there are still other factors to consider when thinking about contacts for your child.
Is your child mature enough?
Age is not the only indication for maturity and you have to make sure your child is actually responsible enough to handle the application and other cares of contact lenses. If they’re already wearing glasses, make sure they understand that contacts are not the same and require more meticulous and careful handling. Analyze how they perform their other duties around the house and that should give you a hint. If you have to constantly remind your child to complete daily chores or hygienic tasks, then they may not be prepared for contacts. If they’re diligent in taking care of tasks without reminders, then they may be perfect for wearing contact lenses, despite their age.
Are they active in Athletics?
Most kids participate in physical activity and recreation. Glasses are not nearly as suitable as contact lenses in these cases. Glasses give your child a disadvantage while contacts don’t fall off, allow peripheral vision, don’t get foggy from body heat, and are not affected by sweat streaks. All these are important for every sport and can possibly allow your child to play better. Some contact lenses are even altered to help athletic people focus on the ball with less effort.
Most of the time soft contact lenses are the best way to go when active in sports. They’re not as small and have a tighter fit on the eye over stiff gas permeable lenses, making it almost impossible for them to move out of position or fall off during matches.
Is your child nearsighted?
Gas permeable contacts may actually be the smarter decision if your child is nearsighted. Soft lenses are not as long-lasting or as sharp in vision as GP contacts.
One method of applying gas permeable lenses allows for the temporary reversal of myopia, the scientific term for nearsightedness. Orthokeratology lenses are to be worn while sleeping during the night so that after their removal the next morning, nearsighted children will have clear vision without any type of visual assistance.
Multifocal soft contact lenses, those with more than one prescription, have been proven by research to control myopia. These lenses are specialized to have different prescriptions in various parts of the lens.
You may be surprised how much contacts can boost a child’s self- esteem. A lot of kids are aware of the media’s perception of glasses and don’t enjoy how they look in them. Swapping out their glasses for contact lenses can help how they feel about their appearance and increase their confidence in themselves. This new-found confidence can even boost how they perform in school and their engagement in extracurriculars.
They will still need glasses
While contact lenses are great, your kids will still require an updated pair of glasses. Daily contact lenses will need to be taken out at least 60 minutes before they go to bed to let their eyes relax. And it’s still possible that your child will prefer glasses from time to time.
Don’t make your kids wear contacts
Just because you love your contacts doesn’t mean they’re a right fit for your child. Let your child decide themselves and analyze whether or not they seem motivated since that will affect how well they do with contacts. If your child enjoys their glasses and hasn’t expressed a wish for contacts, then leave them be.
Time could come into play if your child doesn’t want contacts at the moment. They may not want them now, but once they get a little older they could change their mind.
Dr. Joseph Cohen O.D.
Woodland Hills Optometrist
Receive an excellent service on a comprehensive eye care
Providing service in English and Farsi for American and Iranian Patients
19737 Ventura Blvd., Suite 201, Woodland Hills, CA 9136