Clear vision plays an integral role in a child’s development, influencing their academic success, social interactions, and overall confidence. As parents and caregivers, ensuring our children have optimal vision is crucial. With the range of vision correction options available today, the decision is no longer as straightforward as just picking out a pair of glasses.
A comprehensive 2019 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics in the United States revealed that over a quarter of children between the ages of 2 to 17 wore vision either glasses or contact lenses. With such a large number of children requiring vision aids, many parents are left wondering if/when their kids are ready for contacts.
Benefits of Kids’ Contact Lenses
Enhancing Self-Esteem and Natural Appearance
Growing up is filled with self-discovery, and children often find themselves seeking acceptance among their peers. Glasses, though practical, can sometimes cause self-consciousness in children. They may feel their eyewear sets them apart or magnifies perceived flaws.
Switching to contact lenses can allow children to see clearly without the barrier of frames. This newfound confidence can help to lift their self-esteem, positively influencing their academic performance as well as social interactions.
Practicality for Physical Activities
The world of sports and outdoor activities demands keen perception and unhindered vision. By offering an unobstructed field of vision, contact lenses can enable kids to track balls, judge distances, and move seamlessly in games and sports.
Furthermore, the switch to contacts eliminates the constant worry of glasses slipping, fogging up, or breaking during physical activity. This freedom not only enhances performance but also ensures that children can participate wholeheartedly without the looming concern of potential eyewear damage.
Age and Maturity Considerations
Switching to contacts is about your child’s maturity and sense of responsibility. However, depending on maturity, it is generally accepted that a child can transition to contact lenses between the age of eight and their early teenage years.
Contacts require regular cleaning, proper handling, and diligent care to prevent eye infections and other complications. While some kids might be ready for this responsibility at a younger age, others will need more time or help from their parents.
It is important to consider how responsible your child is by judging how well they can follow instructions, including those that have multiple steps. Whether your child regularly completes their chores and keeps to schedules without reminders can also be an indicator.
Children’s Contact Lenses: Risks and How to Mitigate Them
Although contact lenses come with many benefits, they aren’t without risks. Wearing contacts can lead to complications like eye irritation and infections. In rare cases, prolonged misuse or disregard for hygiene can even result in severe consequences such as vision loss.
To ensure safe usage, there are a few crucial rules to follow:
- Always disinfect the lenses as advised, handle them with clean hands, and replace them according to the prescribed schedule.
- Contacts should remain a personal item – never shared with anyone.
- For teenagers who wear cosmetics, it is essential to always apply makeup after inserting the contacts, opting for hypoallergenic or contact-friendly products to minimise risks.
Choosing the Right Contact Lenses: Daily Disposable vs. Bi-Weekly Disposables
When choosing contact lenses for children, daily disposables often come out on top. They present a lower risk of infection due to their short wear cycle, eliminating the need for regular cleaning and disinfection. This simplicity in routine not only promotes better eye health but also eases the responsibility placed on younger wearers, making them a favourable choice for kids transitioning from glasses to contacts. Putting contacts in and taking them out becomes a part of their routine, just like brushing their teeth.
Getting Started With Contact Lenses for Kids
Embarking on the journey to contact lenses for your child begins with a thorough assessment with a trusted children’s eye doctor. This provides invaluable insights into suitability, the necessary prescription, and the best type of lens for your child’s unique needs.
Always remember to seek the guidance of a professional children’s optometrist before making any big decisions around your child’s vision, ensuring their safety and comfort. If you’re ready to consider contacts for your child, simply book an appointment with Bayside Eyecare or reach out to our friendly team on (03) 9909 5329.