Tuesday, March 6, 2018

At What Age Can Your Child Get Contact Lenses?

Contact lenses were a breakthrough in vision correction for cosmetic and convenience. But unlike wearing glasses, they don't correct all vision problems. They also require extra care and diligence to avoid problems like eye infections or corneal damage. For these and other reasons, not everyone is a candidate for contacts, especially children under a certain age.

Age Isn't the Main Factor

Physically, contacts by can worn at any age. Even infants are sometimes fitted with lenses to correct congenital eye diseases. That means your child's age isn't as important as their level of responsibility. Although problems with contacts only affect about 5% of wearer, they usually stem from improper use or care.

Consider your child's level of responsibility on other matters, as well as their personal hygiene habits. Do they do their chores without constant nagging and do their homework on time? What is the state of their bedroom, and how well do they take care of their possessions? Children who are more conscientious and self-directed are usually responsible enough to handle contacts.

When Contacts Are Preferable

Contacts offer several benefits over traditional eyewear, and advances have made them viable for a range of vision problems; they even make bi-focal contact lenses now. Children who are active in sports should wear contacts to avoid losing or damaging their glasses, which can be expensive to replace. They're also safe to wear if your child is involved in contact sports, since broken glasses can cause serious injuries. Contacts also offer:

  • Wider field of vision
  • Increased confidence
  • Better vision when correctly prescribed
Children are also less susceptible to dry-eye, a common issue with some lens wearers that becomes worse as we age. It can cause irritation and make lenses difficult to tolerate. Recent studies have found that wearing contact lenses can also slow the progression of conditions like nearsightedness in children and inhibit myopic progression, leading to better eyesight as they grow up. The newer gas permeable (GP) contact lenses, when worn overnight, temporarily reshape the cornea, allowing near-sighted children to forego eyeglasses during the day.

When is it okay for your child to start wearing contacts, and what conditions prohibit them? Each child is an individual, and no option is right for everybody. An Edmonton eyewear professional can tell you more, but these basic guidelines can help parents make some decisions.

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