When are contact lenses appropriate for children?
People often ask us: “when is the right age to begin wearing contact lenses?” In our eye care clinic near East Brunswick, NJ, we prescribe contact lenses for children and have done so for many years. The maturity of an individual, rather than age, is an important factor when deciding the right time to start contact lens wear. Different choices are available:
- Standard soft contact lenses have the advantage of enabling a child to be able to see clearly at distance, for example the board in school, 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.
- Gas Permeable lenses are great for those children who are beginning to progress and become more nearsighted. Our experience is that gas permeable lenses enable the child to hold their prescription at bay and often prevents the child from becoming more nearsighted. They provide clearer vision and allow more oxygen through the lens than does a soft lens. The lens material does not absorb debris from the tears like a soft lens does and the lenses therefore lasts longer. It is easier to keep them clean and they are therefore healthier and have fewer complications.
- Orthokeratology has the benefit of reversing the nearsightedness, without any surgery. Ortho-K is FDA approved procedure for children and adults. These special lenses reshape the cornea while you sleep. These lenses are inserted at bedtime and are removed in the morning, before school, so you have 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. We call it the Non-LASIK. LASIK is not approved for children but Orthokeratology is FDA approved. Ortho-k is also known by other names such as CRT, Corneal Refractive Therapy, Gentle Vision Shaping System, etc.
We offer free consultations. Call our optometrist near East Brunswick NJ and schedule a time for you or for your child.
A story was printed by U.S. News & World Report that portrays the benefits of children wearing contact lenses from the child's and parent's perspective. (http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/12/26/young-girls-plea-for-contact-lenses-pays-off).
Young Girl's Plea For Contact Lenses Pays Off
Preteen's organized personality was key to safe use of these devices, mom says
By Serena Gordon
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."
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