In Northern Colorado many parents have a similar question about their children and contact lenses: “When would be a good time to introduce my child to contact lens wear?
Many children have the physical ability to wear contact lenses from a very young age. Because of some eye conditions present at birth some babies are even introduced to contact lens wearing to correct or slow the conditions. Recent studies have shown that fitting children between the ages of 8-11 who are nearsighted with one-day disposable contact lenses, about 90% were able to apply and remove the contacts without any help from their parents or guardians.
A matter of maturity
The care, maintenance, insertion and removal of the contact lenses requires a fair amount of responsibility to be present in a child before they can handle the task on a daily basis. A good measurement of their responsibility level is how the child handles other similar responsibilities at home. A couple of examples could be: if they have good or poor daily grooming habits; do they need frequent or daily reminders or do they already take care of their person (for the most part) on a daily basis? How do they do with chores around the house? Do they complete them regularly or do they need a fair amount of reminding and follow up? If your child displays good responsibility at home they are more likely to be ready for the responsibility of contact lens wear, whatever their age may be. Every child is unique and it is normal for them to reach this point at a different times in their lives.
Contact lenses for sports
In Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley sports are activities that many children enjoy. For these activities contact lenses can provide several advantages over glasses. A few of the benefits of contact lenses include: no fogging up, getting streaked with perspiration or getting knocked off like glasses can and do. Almost every sport requires good peripheral vision and contacts also provide better peripheral vision than glasses. In some cases there are tints available that can make seeing the ball easier.
We generally recommend that children involved in sports have contact lenses. For use during sports, soft contact lenses are usually chosen over GP lenses. This is because they are larger and fit much to the eye than GP lenses, so there is very little to no chance that they will become dislodged, get debris under them or get knocked off during an event.
For Children who are nearsighted, rigid gas permeable (GP) contacts might be a better choice in the long run. For some children in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley, GP contact lenses may slow the progression of myopia. This benefit is not available in soft lenses at this time. Long term, GP lenses can be a more durable option and frequently provide sharper vision correction than soft contacts.
Building self-esteem with contact lenses
For many children, it can be difficult to wear glasses daily because they don’t like how they look with them on or because other children can be say and do mean things and so make children feel very self conscious. Contact lenses can be a simple and easy solution for and can drastically improve a child’s self-esteem. Because contacts lenses are virtually invisible, wearing contact lenses can often improve their self confidence. Sometimes, we even see that their involvement in social events and school performance improves after transitioning to contact lenses.
Glasses are still required
If you decide that your child is ready to wear contact lenses, they will still need a pair of eyeglasses with a current prescription. In Northern Colorado, when contact lenses are worn on a daily basis they should be removed at least an hour before bedtime to give your child’s eyes a chance to “breathe” (be exposed to a greater amount of oxygen). Sometimes your child will want to wear their glasses instead of contact lenses for comfort or for a change of pace. Contact lenses should always be removed immediately any time they cause discomfort or eye redness.
Don’t push contacts on your kids
It is perfectly normal for some children to really like wearing glasses and have no desire to wear contact lenses. What we most often see is that motivation is usually the determining factor in whether your son or daughter will be a successful contact lens wearer. If you personally wear contact lenses and have had a wonderful experience, that may not mean that your child is ready to or that contacts are the right choice for your child at this time.
At the time of your child’s contact lens consultation we are usually able to see if the desire is there to begin wearing contact lenses or if we need to wait and try again in a year or two. If it becomes apparent that they would rather wear glasses we will respect their decision – and you should as well.
Timing is everything. We often see a child decide that they just don’t want contacts, but in a year or two they have matured enough or they have a change in their motivating factors and they are now desiring to wear contact lenses. There is time down the road to revisit the contact lens wearing decision.
When your child is ready to try contacts
When you and your child agree it’s time for contacts, please call our office at 970-204-4020 to schedule a contact lens consultation or click on the link on the side of this page. We welcome the opportunity to help kids of all ages in Northern Colorado enjoy wearing contact lenses.