Contact Lenses and Children: What Age Is Too Young?

Teenager with contact lensesThere are many factors that play a role in deciding if a candidate is right for contact lenses. These factors multiply greatly when speaking of a patient who is under the age of fifteen. There are questions that need to be answered to determine if a child is old enough and mature enough to wear contact lenses.  

However, wearing contact lenses is not only a case of maturity and age. Factors regarding the child’s lifestyle and the state of their current vision problems must also be evaluated. While this decision should (and will) ultimately be made by a licensed optometrist, here are some things you, as a parent, can take into consideration when determining whether or not your child is old enough for contact lenses.

Age is not always the issue

Even at a very young age, the eye is versatile and can handle the strain of contact lenses. There are even cases of infants fitted with contacts due to existing eye problems that can be treated no other way. There have also been numerous studies done on children as young as eight years old that demonstrated the vast majority of children had little or no problems with the proper care, input, and removal of their lenses.

Observation and considerations

Therefore, in determining if a child is right for contacts (exclusive of medical vision issues), the question is not how old the child is, but rather how mature. 

As a parent, you will be best equipped to provide an answer to that question through the observation of your child. Does the child care for his belongings in a mature manner? Does he or she demonstrate the level of maturity necessary to handle contact lenses? It should be fairly easy to determine whether or not this is the case.

Finally, talk to your child to see how he or she feels about the added responsibility of caring for and wearing contacts.  

Wearing contacts can be a blessing for children, especially if they are not well-adjusted to the teasing that can occur throughout elementary and intermediate schooling. However, for the long-term health of your child’s vision health, it is critical that personal maturity and responsibility is exhibited.

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