If your child is having trouble seeing the board at the front of the class, chances are they may need a corrective eyewear prescription. But what happens if they can’t find a pair of glasses they like? What happens if they struggle wearing their glasses during sports practices and other activities? Or they rarely wear their glasses because they dislike them? Contact lenses could be the answer. Currently, more than four million children under the age of 18 are wearing contacts in America. The FDA even approved the first contact lens to slow the progression of nearsightedness in children between the ages of eight and 12. But when can a child start wearing contact lenses, and are there any associated risks?
When Can a Child Start Wearing Contact Lenses?
Eye Exams for Children
Before you talk to your child about contact lenses, you’ll want to check in with their eye doctor. Let’s review best practices associated with eye exams for children. According to the American Optometric Association, the recommended frequency of eye examinations for children is as follows:
- Birth to 24 months: First exam before six months of age or as recommended
- 2 to 5 years: Exam at three years of age or as recommended
- 6 to 18 years: Exam before first grade and every two years thereafter
High-risk children, including those born prematurely or those with family histories of eye conditions, may need additional eye care. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the best plan for your child.
Why Might My Child Want to Wear Contact Lenses?
There are a few reasons your child might want contacts. First, they’re a great option for active kids who participate in sports and other high-intensity activities. Some kids might also not like the way they look with glasses, although, as we know, fashionable frames are easy to find in today’s eyewear market. Additionally, some children may be prone to forgetfulness, leaving their glasses behind in the school cafeteria or forgetting to clean their lenses. All of these reasons are valid points that you should discuss with your child’s eye doctor.
Risks Associated with Kids and Contact Lenses
While contacts can be beneficial for many kids, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlines several risks associated with children wearing contact lenses. The most important thing is to make sure that your child is responsible enough to handle contacts and follow all their doctor’s instructions. Contact lens safety is something you should discuss with your child and your child’s doctor. If your child seems to understand the responsibilities, contact lenses may be a great form of corrective eyewear.
So, when can a child start wearing contact lenses? In reality, there isn’t a designated age limit. Instead of relying on an age limit, try to determine whether or not your child is ready for the responsibility that comes with wearing contact lenses. This may mean waiting until your child is a bit older, although many children do just fine with their contacts.
With so many kinds of contacts available, how do you know which option is best for your child? If you live in southwest Missouri, stop by Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an e-mail to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you!