“Mom! But I don’t want to wear glasses! The kids at school call me four-eyes!” Many parents have heard this argument, or a similar one, when debating with their kids about whether or not they’re old enough for contact lenses. Kids have various reasons to prefer them, but one of the most common is that they just don’t think eyeglasses look cool. They want to improve their appearance and not stand out so much from their peers.
Whether your child is interested in getting contact lenses because of schoolyard teasing or to improve athletic performance, there are a few things you should consider first:
Benefits of Contacts for Kids
In addition to helping your children feel more confident about their appearance, contact lenses offer many advantages over traditional eyeglasses. With modern advances to corrective lenses, your child may enjoy enhanced vision while wearing contact lenses. Newer options include rigid gas-permeable lenses, which offer excellent vision, are relatively comfortable to wear and improve oxygen supply to the eye. Contacts also help with peripheral vision, so your child can see better from the sides of the eyes. Finally, contacts are a great choice for kids who play sports because the improved vision helps with performance and makes the experience more enjoyable.
Disadvantages of Contacts for Kids
Despite the many advantages to getting contact lenses for your child, there are also potential shortcomings. It’s important to remember that contacts are primarily used for medical purposes to enhance vision, and they must be inserted, removed, cleaned and stored properly. Effective handling of contact lenses is essential for your child’s eye health. What’s more, your child will need to remember to dispose of them properly depending on the type of contacts they wear.
Improper use can lead to serious eye infections or injuries that compromise your child’s eye health and vision. That’s why many ophthalmologists often recommend waiting until your child is around age 12 or 13 to get contacts.
Making a Decision
If your children are younger than the suggested age, they may still be ready for contacts. This is a very personal and unique decision that varies from child to child. The most important factor is determining whether your child can responsibly handle the contact lenses and use them as directed by their eye doctor. Reflect on your child’s readiness by answering a few questions:
- Does your child practice good hygiene, such as daily face washing and teeth brushing?
- What are the reasons for getting them, for example, sports performance or aesthetics?
- Does your child follow instructions well without constant reminding?
- Does your child stick to rules or usually break them?
- Does your child wear eye makeup, apply it correctly and remove it nightly?
- Is your child comfortable applying contact lenses?
If your children are relatively mature and capable of following the appropriate procedures to care for the contact lenses, they may be a good candidate. Contact your Kansas City eye doctor for a contact lens fitting.
Are you still uncertain about whether contact lenses are right for your child? This can be a difficult decision to make. Our staff is happy to answer any questions you may have and help your child practice inserting and removing contact lenses. Please contact our office for an appointment to discuss your options.