"When can I get contacts?"
This familiar question often occurs around back-to-school time when a child may have a renewed emphasis on their appearance. Many who were once satisfied wearing glasses, now want to wear contact lenses.
According to Encinitas Vision optometrist Dr. Stephen Moffett, parents need to judge a child's maturity level, not age, when considering contact lenses for their son or daughter. "A child who is only eight years of age but brushes their teeth and washes their hands without prodding, and overall listens well to instructions, can be a good candidate for contacts," he says. "However, a preteen without good hygiene habits, or who doesn't remember to perform chores without reminders might not be a good candidate."
Dr. Moffett adds the availability of daily disposable lenses have made contacts more suitable for younger wearers. "With a one-day disposable lens, parents don't have to worry about replacing a ripped or torn lens, or keeping the lenses clean for multiple days," he explains. "Disposable lenses are also a good option for special events or for activities where glasses may get in the way. In fact, occasional wear is often the first step."
At Encinitas Vision | Optometry, first-time contact lens wear begins with a simple, 4-step process.
- A thorough eye exam is performed to assess your child's vision and eye health.
- A contact lens evaluation and fitting to determine the lens prescription and doctor-recommended options.
- An instructional session where lens insertion and removal are practiced.
- A follow-up visit to ensure your child has adjusted well to their lenses.
To limit the risk of an eye infection, contact lenses should be handled with clean hands only, and not be worn during sleep, while swimming/showering/hot tubs, or for longer periods than prescribed.