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When Are Contact Lenses Appropiate For Children?

When Are Contact Lenses Appropriate

For Children?

This story portrays the benefits of children wearing contact lenses from the child's and parent's perspective. People often ask us when is the right age to begin wearing contact lenses?

We prescribe contact lenses for children and have done so for many years.  Maturity is an important factor (rather than age) when deciding the right time to start contact lens wear.  Different choices are available:

1-       Standard soft contact lenses for people that just want to be able to see clearly and for occasional use such as playing sports.  Daily disposables, for example, give the benefit of not having to worry about cleaning or disinfecting the lenses, and contrary to what many people think, they are very affordable.

2-       Gas Permeable lenses are great for those children who are beginning to progress and become more nearsighted. Our experience has been that gas permeable lenses enable someone to hold their prescription at bay and often prevents someone from becoming more nearsighted.   They provide clearer vision for many who wear them, allow more oxygen through the lens than does a soft lens, and are thus healthier.  They are easier to keep clean and last longer.

3-       Orthokeratology, also known by other names such as Ortho-K, CRT, Corneal Refractive Therapy, Gentle Vision Shaping System, etc. have the benefit of reversing the nearsightedness, without any surgery.  It is an FDA approved procedure for children and adults.  People wear special lenses that reshape the cornea while you sleep.  These lenses are inserted at bedtime and are removed in the morning, before school, so someone now has the benefit of clear vision throughout the school plus the advantage of not getting worse.  It gives the benefit for Laser Surgery without the risks that are associated with LASIK.  LASIK means purposefully thinning the cornea, and can cause the cornea to then bulge, permanent haze, regression, difficulty with night driving, and dry eye. Orthokeratology also costs considerably less than LASIK.  Surgery is generally only done of those that are 21 or older, although some more aggressive surgeons do it for those that are as young as 18.

We offer free consultations.  Call our office and schedule a time for you or for your child.

Young Girl's Plea For Contact Lenses

Pays Off

Preteen's organized personality was key to safe use of these devices, mom says

December 26, 2012 RSS Feed Print

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- It came as no surprise to Christina Daves from Gainesville, Va., when her daughter asked for contact lenses at the age of 9.

Her daughter, Megan, had started wearing glasses in the second grade, when she was 7, because she was nearsighted, which meant she needed glasses to clearly see objects in the distance. She also had astigmatism, an irregularly-shaped cornea, in one eye.

"Megan is a swimmer, so swim team was awful because she couldn't see," Daves said. "She didn't wear her glasses to meets, and she hated not being able to see well."

Daves said that Megan's eye doctor was hesitant to prescribe contact lenses for someone so young, but she assured the doctor that her daughter was quite responsible and would do the care required for healthy contact lens use. If her teenage son had made the same request, she said, her answer would have been "no way," but she said she was convinced that her daughter could handle the responsibility that comes with wearing contacts.

She did worry that Megan might have trouble getting the contacts in and out, but she said those concerns were quickly allayed. "The first contact took about 5 to 10 minutes to put in, but after that she was a pro," Daves said. "After one day, she was able to take them in and out without using a mirror."

And the freedom from glasses has been something Megan's enjoyed, her mother said. "Just for sports alone, it has made such a difference in her life," she said. "She also plays lacrosse and volleyball, and both are difficult to play with glasses."

As for taking care of her contacts, that hasn't been a problem, either. Daves said the only issue they have is that both mother and daughter have trouble remembering to take out a new pair of contacts after two weeks, when the lenses expire.

Her advice to other parents? Whether a youngster is ready for contacts "really depends on the personality of the child," Daves said. "I knew Megan was very responsible and organized so I was comfortable letting her try it at a young age. If it had been my teenage son, who is notorious for losing things and leaving things behind, I would not have let him at that age."

More information

Experts offer up advice on kids' eye health here.

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