All throughout this country there are thousands of kids who woke up today and put on a pair of glasses. Some of them were 4 years old, some of them 10, some 15 and everywhere in between. Also today, there were thousands of children who woke and placed contact lenses in their eyes. Who were they? How old are they? And why do they get to wear contact lenses?
Contact lenses and children
Eyeglasses for children are excellent, many a child has grown up with glasses and seen better because of them. But they're not the only option. Contact lenses have also helped out a lot of children too.
"Ok, but are contacts suitable for all children?"
Short answer; No they're not. There's no set criteria for which children can wear them and usually it's up to the child themselves as to whether they are a good fit.
Where does it start?
Usually a child that needs some sort of vision correction, will start off by wearing glasses.
Some children will think they're pretty cool. As they get on a bit, they may decide that in actual fact, they aren't so keen and would rather switch to contact lenses.
Other children will detest the thought of glasses from day one and sooner or later find out that such a things as contact lenses exist.
The child's desire to wear contact lenses indicates that they are a good fit. If these kids don't have the motivation to wear contact lenses, it's going to be hard for them to keep up the daily routine
that is synonymous with wearing contacts.
So that's a start, but what are other factor comes in to play?
Does the child have good habits? Do they remember to brush their teeth every night? Do they tidy their room? Do they look after their glasses at the moment?
If the answer is mainly 'yes', then they are most likely responsible enough to wear contact lenses.
For children, the best contact lenses are the daily disposable contacts
. These can be worn from the time they wake up and are then put in the rubbish just before bed. Each day, they will get a new set of lenses out of the packet and pop them in their eyes. Do you think your child will handle this routine?
Along with this there are several rules that your optometrist will make you aware of when you go to get the contact lenses. While they aren't complicated rules (usually around hygiene), the child must be able to follow these as it only 'safe' to do so.
As you would well know, age is no indicator of maturity! It comes down to each individual child. Children as young as 8 can wear contacts, while at the same time a child of 13 or so, may not be responsible enough.
This is probably the most important factor in the decision.
A combination of maturity and the child's desire to wear them will provide the optometrist with a good basis to start them wearing contact lenses.
Benefits of Children Wearing Contact Lenses
There are good benefits to children wearing contact lenses.
If your child is quite active (i.e. plays sport etc.) as most children do, it's not uncommon for glasses to get broken or lost. With contact lenses, there's not much chance of this happening, plus, if a pair of contact lenses gets lost, getting another set out of the packet won't worry anybody too much - especially if they wear daily disposables. It's going to be less expensive than purchasing another pair of glasses.
It shouldn't happen, but unfortunately children with glasses are often teased or bullied - so much so, that they mightn't want to wear their glasses to school at all. Maintaining the child's self-esteem will help them be confident and learn and grow faster
. With contact lenses, other children aren't likely to know that they even have problems with their eyes.
Making sure children are aware of these benefits is a good idea before they start wearing them.
Talking about these things with the child and the optometrist will help you to make a conclusion about whether your child is ready for contact lenses. Even if your child is not ready for contacts today, give it another 6 months or a year and they could well be ready.