Children can wear contact lenses at any age, even as an infant. When an infant must wear a high prescription, if the power of each eye is very different from the other, or if a congenital cataract has been removed, special contact lenses for infants are used and are preferred to glasses because contacts provide more natural optics and vision to stimulate the development of the eye. Parents learn how to care for the lenses, and to apply and remove the contacts from their child’s eyes. Contact lenses for infants are critical for the development of the visual system and can prevent amblyopia or loss of vision. Dr. Brisco and her staff have successfully fit children as young as 5 years old to wear and care for contact lenses by themselves.
Contact lenses are an excellent option for all ages to be used in addition to glasses. Most children, or adults who need vision correction, can wear contact lenses. There are many options for all types of prescriptions including high prescriptions, astigmatism, and bifocal lenses. Disposable lenses: both weekly and daily disposables, make wearing contact lenses healthy and convenient. Since there is little care involved with the latest contact lenses, the criteria for non-infants and older children, is whether they have the manual dexterity to handle the contacts.
Several well-known studies[i] have shown that contact lenses have many benefits for children including:
- Contacts can improve a child’s self-image and self-confidence
- Contact lenses also help ensure that a child is wearing their prescription throughout the day since they remain in the eyes
- Contact lenses are cost-effective because they usually do not get lost, or scratched
- Contact lenses are also safe and great to wear while playing sports because they give a child natural vision and a full field of view
- Contact lenses, especially gas permeable lenses, can provide better sight than glasses due to superior optics
- Ortho K corneal molds can decrease myopia and astigmatism by wearing gas permeable contact lenses only at night while you sleep. During the day, your child will see clearly without glasses or contact lenses. Corneal molds also slow down the progression of myopia or nearsightedness by acting as a “retainer” on the eyes.
- Contact lenses can be fun for teenagers to change their eye color!
Overall, contact lenses are versatile, safe, and cost-effective for children. If you are interested in wearing contact lenses, we will evaluate your eyes for lens wear, and provide you with the best options. Please let our opticians know during the preliminary testing that you or your child is interested in contact lenses.
[i] Optom Vis Sci.2007 Sep;84(9):896-902.Contact Lenses in Pediatrics (CLIP) Study: chair time and ocular health. Walline JJ, Jones LA, Rah MJ, Manny RE, Berntsen DA, Chitkara M, Gaume A, Kim A, Quinn N; CLIP STUDY GROUP
[ii]Optom Vis Sci.2006 Jan;83(1):37-45.The Adolescent and Child Health Initiative to Encourage Vision Empowerment (ACHIEVE) study design and baseline data. Walline JJ, Jones LA, Chitkara M, Coffey B, Jackson JM, Manny RE, Rah MJ, Prinstein MJ, Zadnik K.