Kids and contact lenses

We are often asked what about kids and contact lenses? Our response is usually that it depends entirely on the child and the vigilance of the parents to teach and control the day to day efforts involved. We are seeing kids interested in contact lenses earlier and earlier and their use is widely suited to all age groups.

The advantages of contact lenses over glasses are well recognised but among the additional advantages for teens and children are:

· Better vision and more convenient for sports and leisure activities where children often remove their glasses for fear of breaking them

· Improved appearance and social acceptance, especially with high levels of short sight (myopia) or long sight (hyperopia)

· Greater self-confidence, self-esteem and satisfaction

· Avoid frequent breakages of glasses

· Full-time vision correction – particularly important in children astigmatism and poor vision in one eye to ensure the eyes work properly together and to avoid a ‘lazy eye’

· Easily updated when eyesight is changing frequently

· Added protection from ultraviolet (UV) exposure with some lenses

Another potential benefit currently under investigation is the ability of contact lenses to slow the progress of short sight (myopia) in children. Although controversial there have been great success stories.

Our choice would be a daily disposable soft lens, especially if the lenses are not worn every day. These lenses are simple and convenient to use, do not require solutions, and are more likely to be replaced as directed. They are a more expensive option than other lens types if worn every day but the cost per lens is low so they can be cost-effective, especially if a lens is occasionally lost. Used properly, the incidence of problems with daily disposables is very low. They also have advantages for allergy-suffering children.

We can provide you and your child with more information on the different types of contact lenses available.

The average age at which children are first fitted with contact lenses is currently 13 years although studies have shown that even young children can be very successful in wearing, handling and looking after contact lenses. Contact lenses also have a very high satisfaction rate among young wearers, as high as 97% among 8-12 year olds and 99% among 13-17 year olds. Both groups benefit from significant improvements in their quality of life.

Madhu Lohmaier