Many eye care professionals are asked – when is the right time to start my child with contact lenses? Here are a few things to consider when making the decision:
1) Children as young as 5 can wear contacts
They learn how to wear them like brushing their teeth. The average age for starting contact lenses for kids is 6 or 7, often when they want to do gymnastics or other sports.
2) Contact lenses are better for sports activities
Even if your child is wearing polycarbonate eyeglass lenses, if the frame breaks, it too can cause injury. With contacts, he or she can wear protective goggles. Your child will also have better peripheral (side) vision, for better awareness and performance.
And if your child is using ortho-k contact lenses — the same lenses just mentioned for myopia control — they’ll have an added advantage in sports. Even though ortho-k lenses are worn only while sleeping, they provide crisp vision during the day when they’re not being worn. So your child won’t have to worry about losing a lens, or getting dust between the lens and the eye, while playing sports.
3) Most teens would rather wear contacts than glasses.
The self-esteem of children and teens is closely related to their appearance. If they don’t like the way they look in glasses, it can affect their personality, their performance in school, even their future. Once they start wearing contacts, many shy kids come out of their shell and begin participating more in life.
4) Some contacts can slow the progression of nearsightedness (Myopia)
Several studies have shown that some contact lenses used for overnight orthokeratology can slow down eye growth. It’s the growth of the eye that results in progressively increasing myopia (nearsighteness).
5) Kids take wearing contact lense wearing seriously
Most eye care professionals report great results with kids and contact lenses.
They find that kids of all ages usually take contact lens wear seriously and are more likely than adults to follow cleaning instructions to the letter.
6) Consult with your doctor
No eye doctor will prescribe contact lenses for children or teenagers who aren’t ready for them or who don’t have a good reason to wear them. And they don’t hesitate to unprescribe them if a child doesn’t take good care of them.
Talk it over with your Kent Eye Clinic practitioner — he or she is the best person to help you decide what’s right for your children’s vision correction.