Many children reach the point when they ask, “Can I get contacts?” As a parent, you may wonder whether to let your child try them. Here’s what you need to consider:
Some children are happy to wear glasses, but others are dissatisfied. If your child complains about their glasses, you may want to talk to your eye-care professional about contact lenses.
If your child plays sports, contact lenses may offer an advantage. They won’t break like frames and lenses of glasses can. Your child will also be able to have clearer peripheral vision and won’t have to deal with frames that can get sweaty and uncomfortable.
In some cases, such as when a child is very nearsighted, he or she may be able to see better with contact lenses than with glasses.
If your child has poor self-esteem, contacts may help give them a boost. A three-year study conducted by the Ohio State University College of Optometry concluded that a child’s self-perception improved when wearing contact lenses. This is especially true of girls.
Contact lenses can cause increased itching and burning in the eyes of contact wearers who have seasonal allergies, so if you child suffers from these, he or she may want to stick with glasses.
Dexterity and comfort level
Is your child able to take his or her contact lenses out and put them back in? It may take some practice, but he or she should be able to handle the daily maintenance on their own after some initial help. Age isn’t the only determining factor, because some young children are more at ease putting in and removing their contacts than adults are.
This is perhaps the most important factor. Will your child follow proper hygiene practices, or will he or she leave the contacts in for too long, possibly risking an infection? It’s important that he or she be able to follow the proper procedures, because contacts are a medical device that can cause serious damage if they’re misused.
Ultimately, letting your child wear contact lenses isn’t an all-or-nothing, lifelong decision. If you let them try it and it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, your child can always go back to wearing glasses and perhaps try again when circumstances change.