Is My Child Ready?
Parents frequently ask “Are contact lenses safe for children?” Contact lenses offer sharp, clear vision with no obstruction of peripheral (side) vision. For athletic children they can be especially beneficial because, unlike glasses, they don’t fog up, fall off, get scratched or break during play.
However, contact lenses are a medical device. They come with risks such as eye irritation and infections. At the worst, unregulated wear, improper cleaning and use can cause vision loss. Regular check-up examinations and fittings are an important and essential part of wearing contact lenses.
When kids first express an interest in wearing contacts, a child’s maturity and ability to handle contact lens responsibly is more important than age alone. As a parent or care giver ask yourself this: Does my child always do their chores, keep their room clean and make their bed? Do they show responsibility and good hygiene daily?
You need to make sure they:
- Understand the benefits of not wearing eyeglasses
- Can follow the doctor’s instructions exactly, day after day
- Understand the drawbacks of wearing contacts
- Know how to properly clean, disinfect and handle them
- Are capable of inserting and removing contact lenses by themselves
- Will abide by the doctor recommended wearing schedule
- Will not share or swap contacts with another person
- Will not use saliva, tap water, distilled water or non-sterile saline solution
- Understand to apply make-up after putting in the lenses, not before
- Understand to use hypoallergenic skin products and cosmetics or those marked “for contact lens wearers” or “for sensitive eyes” only
If the answer is No to any of the above you may wish to reconsider contact lenses until you are certain your child can be responsible enough to wear contacts.
If you feel your child is responsible, having a conversation about contacts with Dr. David R. Pernelli, MD or Dr. Terrance K. Heacox, Jr., OD will help determine if your child is ready for the next step. Please contact the Eye Institute of South Jersey, PC, at (856) 205-1100 to make an appointment.