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When Can a Child Wear Contact Lenses?

The new school year is underway, you are busier than ever, and your child asks, "am I old enough to get contact lenses?" Wearing contact lenses has become a much more popular option for many children and teens. When it comes to the "right age" for children and contacts, there isn't one, as every child or teen's eyes are different and would need to be properly examined to determine if contact lenses are an option. Children as young as eight years old may do well with contacts, while some teens may not be ready to handle the responsibility. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, most eye care providers recommend contact lenses for children 12 years and older.

Benefits of Contact Lenses

One of the biggest benefits of contact lenses for children and teens is that they can give you better peripheral (side) vision. Peripheral vision can be extremely helpful for sports, especially ones that require a helmet, such as football or hockey, or gymnastics, where glasses can get in the way. For teens, contacts can also be beneficial for driving; in some cases, contacts may offer a better quality of vision than eyeglasses. Additionally, some children and teens prefer contact lenses over glasses because they are more confident with their appearance.

Disadvantages of Contact Lenses

One common disadvantage to youth wearing contact lenses is that there will likely be more frequent changes in the necessary power of the contact lenses in children younger than 18 compared to older patients. Therefore, regular follow-up visits to the doctor who fits the contact lenses are important. Another more obvious disadvantage, other than cost, is that contacts require discipline in their care, replacement, cleaning, and storage, which can be a lot for a young child or teen.

Here are some basic rules for your child or teen to follow:

  • Wash your hands before cleaning or putting in lenses.
  • Clean and rinse your contact lenses as directed.
  • Never put your lenses in water or saliva.
  • Don't wear lenses for longer than prescribed.
  • Never wear someone else's contact lenses.
  • Always have a prescription for any lens you wear.
  • Remove contact lenses if the eyes are itching, burning, red, or irritated. Only use products advised by the eye care provider. Call your eye care provider.
  • Don't sleep with contact lenses unless they are approved for overnight use.

Talk with a Northwest Eye Optometrist

The first step in deciding if contacts are suitable for your child or teen is to discuss their options with an eye doctor. The doctors at Northwest Eye, who specialize in pediatric eye care, can help you determine what type of vision correction is best for your child. To schedule an appointment call (763) 416-7600 or request an appointment online

VIP Frame Discount

Not ready for contacts just yet? No problem! Northwest Eye is offering SportsEngine customers a VIP Frame Discount - $100 off kids and adult frames! Simply mention the code SPORTS to your Certified Optician at any of the Northwest Eye optical locations. Click here or call (763) 416-7600 to schedule your appointment today.

Be Eye Wise and make sure your eyes are healthy and protected for the school year ahead! Because the more you know, the better you see.

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