With so much media pressure on teenagers and young people, children often ask their parents if they would be able to switch from glasses to contact lenses. However, many parents can feel that their children are just too young to wear contact lenses and must stick with glasses for a few years more.
What is the appropriate age for young people to start wearing contact lenses?
Most experts say that most children have physically matured enough to wear contact lenses by the age of 11-13. This is based on the child’s ability to be able to clean, look after and fit their own lenses.
Research has shown that children are actually better at looking after lenses, as well as fitting them, than adults. This is because children are less likely to become complacent with their lens cleaning regimes and a child is more likely to closely follow the advice of a medical professional than their parents.
Most optometrists prescribe daily, soft contact lenses to children as it eliminates the need to go through a daily cleaning routine, and soft lenses have been shown to mould to the eye better, increasing comfort and improving fit.
Contacts are also a safer option for active children as the danger of eyeglasses breaking and causing injury has been eliminated. The only sport where the use of contact lenses is not recommended is water sports (such as water polo), but prescription goggles are available.
When is your child ready to start wearing contact lenses?
Even with soft daily contact lenses a certain degree of responsibility is required. If you aren’t sure if your child is ready for contact lenses, think about how well your child remembers to carry out any chores or tasks you set them (e.g. feeding pets, taking out the rubbish).
If you don’t feel your child is ready for them yet explain to them that you don’t feel they are responsible enough yet, set a ‘dummy’ routine so they can show you they are responsible before your next visit to the opticians.