Before allowing your child to transition from eyeglasses to contact lenses, they need to be aware of the risks and safety precautions.
While there is no minimum or suggested age for wearing contact lenses, it is vital to assess whether they are appropriate for your child before switching from eyeglasses to contacts. Here are some guidelines to help you determine whether your child is ready to wear contacts.
Why would a child want contact lenses?
Contact lenses have many benefits for tweens and teens. They may be ideal for sporting activities because they do not shatter as easily as glasses frames and lenses. In some circumstances, contact lenses outperform spectacles in terms of vision quality, particularly for extremely near-sighted children.
Contact lenses and children
Contact lenses should be worn safely, responsibly, and only under the direction of an eye doctor. Otherwise, a serious eye injury can occur, especially if the contact lenses are not removed at the first sign of a problem.
If you are considering contacts for your child, you should consider how well your child handles other responsibilities, including personal cleanliness.
Wearing another child’s lens; using saliva to moisten a lens; failing to follow the directions of an eye care professional; and wearing cosmetic or decorative lenses purchased without a valid prescription from flea markets, beauty supply stores, the internet, and other sources are all common behaviours that can result in eye injury.
According to research published in Pediatrics, contact lenses are responsible for around 13,500 (or one-fourth) of the approximately 70,000 children who visit the emergency room each year for injuries and problems from medical devices. Contact lens complications include infections and eye abrasions, which means that contact lenses can harm your eye.
The most serious risk is corneal ulcers (severe infections) — the front of the eye that protects it from bacteria, dust, and other hazardous material. Ulcers are uncommon, but if not treated and controlled promptly, they can result in permanent eyesight loss. Failure to take the appropriate precautions might considerably increase the risk of ulcers. Extended wear lenses (lenses that can be worn overnight or while sleeping) are generally not recommended for children and teenagers because they can increase the occurrence of corneal ulcers.
Because a new pair is used every day, daily disposable lenses can reduce some of the hazards associated with wearing lenses.
Another thing to consider is that children who suffer from seasonal allergies are unlikely to benefit from contact lenses. The contact lenses may aggravate the itching and burning produced by their allergies.
Tips for contact lens safety
- Before cleaning or installing lenses, ensure your child washes their hands and dries them with a clean, lint-free cloth.
- Contact lenses should be rubbed, rinsed, cleaned, and disinfected as instructed. Your child should use only the products and treatments advised by their eye doctor. Cleaning and washing (as well as the use of most care products) are not required if daily disposable lenses are prescribed.
- Your child should never put their contact lenses in contact with water or saliva or wear their contacts longer than prescribed. Unless otherwise prescribed, children should never sleep with contact lenses.