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Are Contact Lenses a Good Choice for Kids?

Tuesday, October 26th

Are Contact Lenses a Good Choice for Kids?

Can kids wear contact lenses? This is one of those questions that receives the well-worn answer "it depends".

Contact lens use is considered safe for children as young as eight as long as the proper lens care procedures are adhered to. Lenses that are replaced once a month or every two weeks must be cleaned, disinfected, rinsed, and stored when not in use. This might be challenging for very young users, but easier for older teens or tweens. Establish a lens care regimen that works for the appropriate age, like inserting and removing daily disposables at the same times each day. Ask the doctor for a contact lens care and instruction sheet that is easy for kids to understand. And designate a specific area in the home for insertion and removal. A magnifying mirror would probably come in handy.

Kids can wear contact lenses for many of the same reasons adults do. Some of the benefits that kids can realize include:

  • Improved participation in sports. Wearers of contact lenses enjoy better peripheral vision than eyeglasses can provide. Also, contact lenses can't fall off your face like glasses can. Someone who removes their glasses to participate in sports runs an increased risk of injury due to impaired vision.
  • Boosted confidence and improved self-esteem. Kids with contacts are potentially less likely to be teased than kids with eyeglasses.
  • Fewer lost eyeglasses. Kids are less likely to remove and lose their eyeglasses and more likely to take care of contact lenses.

Some diseases might prohibit contact lens wear, like certain allergies. Discuss this with your child's eye doctor. Also discuss with your child's doctor the effects of long-term contact lens wear on the cornea.

It is important for contact lens users of all ages to not sleep in lenses that are not specifically designed for it. At the same time, there are some rigid contact lenses that are designed to actually help reshape the cornea during sleep, treating certain types of myopia (nearsightedness).

Kids (and parents) must understand the importance of replacing lenses on schedule, whether it's daily, biweekly, or monthly. Daily disposable lenses are particularly suitable for younger children. There is no lens care regimen to follow. As long as the child understands that his or her hands must be absolutely clean when inserting or removing the lenses, the word "daily" leaves no doubt as to when the lenses must be replaced.

In the end, one of the most important considerations when deciding whether your kids are good candidates for contact lenses is their attitude. Kids will be much more successful adapting to contact lenses if they are excited about it.

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Contact Lens Store FAQ

With nearly 45 million people in the US alone who wear contacts, the reasons are just as numerous! Some prefer the way they look, while others find them more comfortable for their everyday activities, especially spending time outdoors or exercising. Also, a small percentage of the population struggle to achieve 20/20 vision with glasses but find that contact lenses make it possible.
There are three basic types of lenses: hard, gas permeable, and soft. In the past, more rigid contacts were needed to correct astigmatism, but with advances in technology most users can get the vision correction they need with a more comfortable soft lens. Some contacts are single-use (meaning that you throw them away after you've used them for a day), while others are worn for longer periods and need to be kept in a disinfecting solution overnight. There are even fashion contact lenses to change the look of your eye color or as part of a Halloween costume!
Children can use contact lenses as early as age 8, but many doctors don't recommend them for patients younger than 12 - largely due to concerns about hygiene and injuries when putting them in and removing them. On the other end of the age spectrum, there's no such thing as "too old" for contacts, but you may find yourself needing a more specialized lens that can accommodate presbyopia (not being able to see things up close) or dry eyes
That's an easy one: to save money! Why spend more when you can get the exact same lenses for less? You'll often see new customer discounts of up to 30% off retail prices. And, your optometrist may not be fully stocked on the lenses you need, leaving you waiting for them to be delivered either way.
Most contact lens stores have a satisfaction guarantee that protects you if you somehow receive lenses that are different from your prescription. It's a good idea to check the contacts you get against the prescription you submitted: a simple mistake like changing a plus to a minus or a 3 to an 8 can easily leave you with drastically blurry vision!
In most places, it's required by law to have a prescription to dispense contact lenses. Prescriptions are typically valid for a year, so you may want to keep an eye on the calendar and reorder your new contacts right before yours expires. Some retailers have an online tool that will check your vision, send your results to an optometrist, and update your prescription - often at no charge! If you don't have a complicated prescription and don't think your vision has changed much since your last in-person exam, this could be a convenient option.
Sometimes. Not every online retailer of contacts will accept vision insurance. If you have a plan with VSP, Cigna, MetLife or another provider, you may want to choose a contact lens store that will apply your benefits to your purchase.
Absolutely. Many of them have been in business for decades. If you want extra reassurance that the retailer you're considering is a good option, be sure to look at their rating from the Better Business Bureau along with reviews from previous customers.
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