Seeing Better Than You Have Before

Should Your Young Child Wear Contact Lenses?

by Linda Bates

There is no minimum age at which people can wear contact lenses. If your elementary age or pre-teenage child is pushing for contacts instead of eyeglasses, whether or not he or she should have them is solely up to you. However, there are factors to consider. Before making a decision, here is what you need to know about young people and contacts. 

Is Your Child Responsible Enough for Contacts?

Contact lenses require a great deal of care. If not properly cared for, your child could develop a fungal infection or other visual-related problems after wearing the lenses. Before deciding if your child care have contacts, you need to evaluate how responsible he or she is. 

Evaluating your child's level of responsibility can include assessing how often he or she does chores and homework. You also need to consider whether or not your child will be willing to follow the hygiene rules of wearing contacts, such as removing them at night before going to sleep. 

What Does the Eye Doctor Say?

Another factor to consider in your decision making is whether or not there is an actual benefit to your child wearing contacts. For instance, if your child plays sports, wearing contacts can provide him or her with a wider range of vision, which is crucial during game play. 

However, if your child only wants contacts for cosmetic purposes and does not have a medical need for them, you might be able to delay making a decision on them until your child is older. 

It is important to note that if you do choose to buy your child cosmetic lenses, ask the eye doctor for a referral to the best location to buy them. Some contact lenses that are sold online and locally are not FDA approved. Improperly manufactured lenses can lead to visual problems. 

What Should Your Child Know About Contacts?

If you have agreed to your child having contacts, it is important that you talk to him or her about avoiding infections. For instance, stress the importance of not sharing lenses with anyone else. Your child also needs to know to:

  • Avoid cleaning lenses with anything other than sterile saline solution.
  • Use skin care products that are labeled "for sensitive eyes."
  • Wash his or her hands before inserting the contact lenses. 

Consult with your child's eye doctor about any other concerns you may have about your child wearing contact lenses. The doctor can help with the evaluation of your child's ability to care for the lenses and recommend the best type to wear. 

Contact a professional like Jeffrey C. Fogt, OD to learn more.