Are Contact Lenses Safe for My Young Child?
Do you have concerns regarding whether or not lenses are safe for your child? This is an understandable concern among many parents. The Miami Contact Lens Institute provides you with the information that you need to know before you make this important decision.
If your child has a vision problem such as myopia, there are several possible treatments that can help. One of your options is contact lenses. Whether your child prefers to wear contact lenses rather than eyeglasses or you think contact lenses are the better option for him or her for a specific reason, you may be wondering if your child is old enough for contacts and whether they are safe for children of a certain age. The short answer is that yes, contact lenses are safe for children–with a few caveats.
Benefits of contact lenses for children
First, let’s explain why you might want contact lenses for your child instead of eyeglasses. Contact lenses can correct most of the vision problems that glasses can; they can also correct some problems that glasses cannot. Some of the specific benefits of contact lenses for children are:
- Sports safety and performance. If your child plays sports or is involved in other strenuous physical activities, then contact lenses can be helpful. They won’t get in the way or fall off the way that glasses can, and they allow a wider field of clear vision.
- Academic performance. Clear vision is essential to a child’s academic success. If your child does not want to wear eyeglasses because of their appearance, he or she might be more receptive to contact lenses.
- In some cases, contact lenses can provide better vision correction than eyeglasses. If your child is very nearsighted or has cornea damage from an injury or disease, contacts may be the most effective choice.
- Some contact lens options such as multifocal soft lenses and corneal reshaping (orthokeratology) can create what’s called a “hyperopic defocus” and actually significantly slow down the progression of myopia, minimizing the risk of severe eye disease later on.
Is your child ready for contact lenses?
The determining factor in whether your child can safely wear contact lenses is not their age but rather their readiness. It’s critical to evaluate whether your child is willing and able to be responsible for contacts. A child should demonstrate the ability to apply and remove the lenses relatively easily and to perform all the necessary steps to keep the lenses clean and store them safely. He or she should also be motivated enough to wear them; a child who doesn’t want to wear contact lenses isn’t likely to take hygiene and maintenance routines seriously.
Your child’s eye doctor can explain basic lens safety and care and help your child understand how to wear contact lenses without hassles or complications. You can help by making sure that your child follows through with all necessary hygiene tasks, and you can also issue reminders as needed, such as:
- Never sleeping or swimming in contacts
- Not using tap water to clean the lenses
- Soaking the lenses with fresh cleaning solution in their case
- Changing out the lens case every month if using monthly lenses
For children, it is usually preferable to use daily disposable lenses.
With some practice, caring for contact lenses will become second nature to your child.
According to the CDC, although contact lenses can be safe for children, they are not risk-free. Contact lenses are rarely associated with complications such as eye infections. Such concerns are why it is so important to take proper care of contact lenses and, if your child is wearing them, to oversee the contact lens care routine as a parent.
When parents play an active role in their kids’ contact lens care and ensure that safety and hygiene procedures are always in place, they can minimize the risk of any complications developing. There are different forms of vision correction available—consult an eye doctor to determine which one is right for your child.