Contact lenses are safe for all age groups, and children too can effortlessly use them once they learn and master all the necessary precautions and guidelines of use. Go through the FAQs presented in this article to clear all your doubts.
Out of the total percentage of contact lens users in the United States, about 10% are children. Also, it’s a fact that children are more prone to develop eye conditions like an infection, conjunctivitis, abrasions, pain in the eye, and ulcers, due to improper use of eye lenses. The official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that lenses account for 40% of all medical device related injuries. Thus more than the age, it is the maturity of the kid that counts. Though a doctor is the best person who can decide on the best lenses, the following segments will help you in taking the best and safest decision.
Safety of Lenses for Kids
Yes, these are absolutely safe for children, if you make them follow all the safety guidelines and teach them to use lenses with care.
At what age should children start using contact lenses?
There is no ideal age, rather, the decision is based on the child’s ability to take care of the lenses. Normally, doctors prescribe lenses to kids after they are above eleven years of age. But in a study conducted at the Ohio State University, it was found that even kids between 8-12 years of age can use lenses effectively. Thus age is a factor that has little significance.
Out of so many varieties which lenses are best for kids?
There are many types; the two broad categories are soft lenses and rigid gas permeable contact lenses. Soft lenses have obvious advantages over other types, and thus are more popular. Under soft lenses there are two more variations, based on the period of use – daily disposable lenses and extended period use lenses. The only disadvantage of soft lenses is that they need extra effort while cleaning, as impurities from the soap or environment can easily stick to them.
Another new variety of soft lenses is silicon extended lenses. These lenses can be worn for thirty straight days and nights, if the person takes proper care. After taking all these factors into consideration, we can conclude, daily disposable soft lenses are best for children. A study had found that, children had no trouble in applying and removing one day disposable lenses, and managed to do it without any assistance from parents. Daily disposable lenses also spare you from the routine cleaning process.
Do these boost self-esteem in children?
If this question was asked a decade ago, then the answer would have been a ‘yes’. But this does not hold true now considering the wide and trendy varieties of glasses available today. Kids with spectacles no longer feel uncomfortable or like the ‘odd one out’ when they are with their peers. Children who are more into sports should prefer contact lenses over glasses to avoid any trouble during play.
What is my role as a parent?
There is no reason to worry once your child gets used to wearing lenses. Parents need to keep in mind the following important points.
1. Every person takes his/her own time to adjust to the lenses, it actually depends on the sensitivity of the lenses to the person’s eyes.
2. Parents are the best people to decide whether their kid is responsible enough to take care of lenses. Postpone giving contact lenses to your kid if you think he/she is not matured enough to take care of them.
3. Ensure that your child is following all the necessary steps and is taking proper care of his/her lenses. If your child has been given the monthly disposable lenses to use, enlighten him/her about the importance of cleaning and disinfecting the lenses.
4. Ensure that your child always has with him/her a pair of glasses, that would come in handy if there is any mishap.
5. Take your child for a regular monthly eye checkup. This will protect him/her from any eye infections and diseases.
6. Ensure that your kid follows all the basic rules concerning cleaning and disinfection of lenses. If there is persistent redness and irritation in your kid’s eyes, take your doctor’s opinion. Dryness is also a common symptom of using lenses, that can be countered by lubricating the eyes with eye drops before going to bed every night.
On a concluding note, lenses are totally safe for your kid, if he/she is responsible enough to use them. They are as safe and effective as eye-glasses as a corrective measure for myopia or short-sightedness. Many rules have to be followed while using lenses, but once you master them, there is no trouble.