Parents, do you know what age your child can start wearing contact lenses? This is a question our eye doctors at Bright Vision Optometry answer often.
Before we get to the answer of that question, let’s think first if your child actually could benefit from contact lenses.
At Bright Vision Optometry, we believe in the power of contact lenses to provide a more natural way of seeing. There are certain circumstances where traditional glasses will get in the way of comfortable vision.
Here’s a couple situations where contact lenses may provide better overall vision and comfort:
Does your child play sports? Children who play sports like football, basketball, baseball or soccer could benefit from contact lenses and avoid the hassle and distraction of glasses wear.
Is your child involved in extracurricular activities such as dancing or cheerleading? Children involved in high movement activities could also benefit from contact lens wear.
Contact lens is a safe and a great alternative to correction vision over traditional glasses. Especially kids with a higher prescription (we’ll get more into that later).
So let’s dive into answering our first questions: What age can my child start wearing contact lenses?
The answer to that question firmly depends on the maturity level and motivation of the child. From our experience, children can start wearing contacts at the age of 10-12 years old. But get this, some kids we see at Bright Vision Optometry start wearing contact lenses at the age of 6. So it really depends.
One day, Dr. Soong’s wife was showing him pictures of her during her childhood when she said, “I use to hate wearing glasses, I would take them off and hide them behind my back in pictures.” And she really did that, the proof was in these pictures.
Back in the day, most children dislike wearing glasses. This dislike is what motivated my wife to start wearing contact lenses at the young age of 7.
Today’s world is a bit upside down. For reason, more and more kids now a day want to wear glasses even if they don’t have a need for prescription glasses.
Wearing contact lenses requires responsibilities. Often times, our eye doctors would ask the parents how clean their children’s room is at the moment. This gives our eye doctors a general idea how responsibly the kid is.
Certain modality of contact lenses require maintenance. With the increase popularity of daily contact lenses, the maintenance required has dramatic diminished. Therefore even younger children in elementary school can wear start wearing contact lenses.
Putting on contact lenses may sound like a simple skill to learn. However the learning curve of inserting contact lenses may be steeper for some children.
Our own Dr. Soong found this out the hard way. When he was 16 years old, he tried contact lenses for the first time and it took him a whooping 1 hour and 30 minutes to put on and take off his first pair of contact lenses. He often mentions this personal experience to our first time contact lens wearers.
Like any process of learning, it could be extremely frustrating especially for a child of young age. Just think about your first attempts of learning how to ride a bike or swim.
Emotions and frustrating sometimes can get in the way of learning. But learning how to wear contact lenses is one of the skills like riding a bike and swimming, that once your child masters, it will be a skill that will be retained for the rest of their lives.
The reason my wife started wearing contact lenses at the age of 7 was because her prescription was increasing and her glasses started to become too thick to the point where she was embarrassed to wear glasses.
With the aid of contact lenses, she was able to see and excel in school with the confidence that her parents was looking for. As fashionable as glasses can be, a child with a high prescription may not be comfortable with glasses due to lens thickness, limitation of glasses frame selection and distorted peripheral vision.
So if your child has a high prescription already, it could be another reason to get them into contact lenses for better visual comfort especially for sports related activities.
Again, children can start wearing contact lenses as young as 5 or 6 years ago. However, there are factors to consider such as the maturity and emotional level of the child, the curve of learning how to wear contact lenses and also the power of their prescription.
Another alternative is something called Orthokeratology or Ortho-k. Ortho-k is a special overnight contact lens which is becoming popular amongst children as well.
Learn more about ortho-k contact lenses: CLICK HERE
Lastly, contact lenses are a very safe alternative to glasses when properly taken care of. For this new school year, maybe it’s time to consider contact lenses for your child.