Ask every eye doctor when they think children are old enough to wear contacts and you’ll hear a very large range of responses. But it really boils down to this….is the child responsible enough to wear contact lenses safely. Contact lens use raises the risk of eye infections and other complications and the decision to allow your child to where them falls more to the parents than to the doctor. If, according to the parent, the child is good with daily hygiene, responsibilities around the home, and takes good care of the eyeglasses, then they’re probably ready to wear contact lenses.
Once the decision is made for the child to wear contact lenses, what are the best lenses to use? This article will review options for you without advertising one brand over another. Of course, you’ll need to review all the options available to you from your eye doctor. And you may want a second opinion as well – this is an important decision.
Daily Wear versus Extended Wear
All contacts can be removed at the end of the day, and some contact lenses are approved to keep in overnight, also called “extended wear”. Extended wear poses higher risks of infections and other complications. As such, most eye doctors are hesitant to prescribe extended wear modalities for children. Even though there are contact lenses that are approved for up to 30 days of continuous use, many doctors believe this poses too much risk for children who may not bring up problems to Mom or Dad. Daily Wear is a safer bet.
Daily wear lenses fall in to two camps – ones you clean and ones you don’t. Lenses that are cleaned nightly are then discarded every one to four weeks, depending on brand and doctor recommendations. Other lenses are thrown away every day, therefore never needing cleaning. These lenses cost more but are considered to be the safest way to wear contact lenses.
To review…..meet with your child’s doctor to discuss when you both feel your child is ready. Review with your child the increased responsibilities of contact lens care and wear. In addition, ask your doctor for your child’s safest and clearest option for contact lens wear.