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Are Your Kids Too Young for Contact Lenses? Your Questions Answered

Mother and daughter choosing between contact lenses and glasses

A recent study captured the deterioration of eyesight in Canadian children. The results show that myopia prevalence increased from 6% at ages 6 to 8, to 29% at ages 11 to 13. This is due to children spending less time outdoors and more time behind screens.

Common eye problems such as myopia and astigmatism are irreversible but treatable. As we all know, glasses are a familiar vision correction tool. They reduce eye strain and can slow the progression of kids’ eye disorders.

But did you know that your children can also have a choice between glasses and contact lenses?

If you never knew contacts were a choice for your kids, you may have lots of questions. Which option is best for your children? And how young is too young for contact lenses? Read on as we share some key tips about the right age to introduce your children to contacts.

Glasses vs. Contact Lenses for Kids

Parents often think that glasses are best for their children’s vision correction needs. But many kids find glasses inconvenient.

Most children are active. So, glasses get in the way of sports and other physical activities. Glasses can be difficult to keep clean, are easily broken and even more easily lost. If you think your children are struggling with wearing glasses, consider contact lenses.

Children can enjoy the same contact lens benefits as adults do. Contacts offer greater physical and visual freedom than glasses. They won’t have to deal nose pad irritation or glasses constantly slipping down or bouncing around.

Also, lenses allow kids to enjoy active lifestyles. They don't have to worry about protecting their expensive eyewear. Glasses block their peripheral vision, and there may be excessive magnification too. Not to mention fogging up in the rain or in cold weather.

When you take all those factors into consideration, contact lenses can be a good alternative for children.

Are Contacts Appropriate for Kids?

Little girl prepares to insert contact lenses

The assumption that contact lenses are unsuitable for children under 12 years old is a false one. A recent study shows that the safety risk of soft contacts is lower in young children than in teenagers. Lens-related corneal irritation was lower in children aged 8 to 12 than those aged 13 to 17.

Once they get enough practice, it’s easy for children to learn how to insert and remove their lenses. Children are often prescribed soft hydrogel lenses, which are quite comfortable to wear.

Some contact lenses also have UV protection. This is vital in reducing your children’s risk of developing eye problems later in life, like cataracts. Do keep in mind that they still have to wear sunglasses in order to properly protect their eyes from harmful UV rays.

Generally, behavioural factors are to blame for eye infections in contact lens wearers. Sleeping or showering in contacts and improper lens care can lead to complications. Yet young children are as capable of proper lens care as older children and adults.

So yes, contact lenses are appropriate for kids!

Three Things You Need to Know About Contacts for Kids

1) Daily Disposable Lenses Are More Child-Friendly

Contact lenses are medical devices and need care for to function properly. Weekly or monthly reusable lenses are harder to care for than daily disposables. The reason being, you remove weeklies and monthlies each night for careful cleaning and storage.

Daily disposable lenses come individually packed in a sterile solution. It’s simply a matter of inserting a fresh pair each day and discarding them every evening. So there’s no need to add yet another task to the night-time clean-up list!

2) Regular Check-Ups Are Important

Small smiling child having eye exam

Your optometrist will conduct a comprehensive contact lens eye exam for your children. You may not know this, but a contact lens exam differs from a standard eye exam.

Contact lenses sit directly on the eyes, so your eye doctor needs to take precise measurements. The curvatures of your kids’ corneas are measured, as well as the sizes of their pupils and irises.

A tear film evaluation is also done to ensure that your children’s eyes create enough moisture to wear lenses. If contact lenses are suitable for your children, then your doctor can fit them with trial pairs.

Your kids’ prescriptions will change as they grow. This is why it’s important that children who wear contacts have more check-ups than adults do. It's also good since you can pre-emptively catch any diseases or disorders before they get too serious.

Watch to see if your children experience any problems when wearing contacts. If any incidents occur, it’s best to visit your eye doctor as soon as possible. An adjustment to your children’s prescriptions or a change of lens type may be needed.

3) Contact Lenses Aren’t Expensive

Another common misconception is that contact lenses are always more expensive than glasses. But this is not the case. Children’s prescriptions often change, so they may need new glasses each year.

Glasses are a fashion accessory and like the latest runners, frames can come with big price tags. Kids are also prone to damaging their glasses. This leads to regular repairs and replacements.

Your children’s prescription changes are easily accommodated if they wear contact lenses. Contacts can be bought from your optometrist or online.

If you have a current prescription, you can shop online for the best deals and your preferred brand of lenses. You can also take advantage of convenient online ordering, first-time buyer discounts and free shipping!

Contact Lenses Can Be Kid-Friendly!

group of happy kids

There is no medical reason why children as young as eight couldn’t wear contact lenses. The only question is whether they’re responsible enough to care for them. As we said before, daily disposable lenses are ideal. They let your kids avoid the task of cleaning their lenses.

Get guidance and advice from your optometrist about your children's best treatment options. But you are the only one who truly knows if your kids are too young for contacts.

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