When they reach a certain age, many children who wear glasses become conscious of their looks and ask if they can wear contact lenses instead. For parents unsure about how to answer this requests, an article on All About Vision explains some of the things you should consider when making this decision.
Technically speaking, children’s eyes can deal with contact lenses from a very young age – even practically from birth, in some extreme cases.
More important than age, then, is a child’s maturity and their ability to take responsibility for their lenses. The article recommends considering how responsible your child is in other areas, such as personal grooming and hygiene, schoolwork and helping around the house. Chances are, if they handle other responsibilities well, they could cope with wearing contacts.
Children usually adapt well to contact lenses and a recent study of children aged 8-11 found that 90% of them were able to apply and remove their lenses independently and with ease. They are also less likely to have dry eyes, which can be a problem for adult wearers – and often follow instructions better than adults, too.
There is also a major advantage to wearing contact lenses if your child is active or plays sports; they eliminate the risk of breakage involved with wearing glasses, and remain stable when your child is running. In many cases, lenses will even provide clearer vision than glasses, which could improve sports performance in children.
Another benefit – and one that children probably care about most – is that contact lenses can benefit those who might suffer from self-esteem issues wearing glasses. The article references a study of 484 children aged 8-11, which found that after three years of wearing either glasses or contact lenses (which they were randomly selected for) the children’s athletic competence, social acceptance and perception of their own appearance were higher than those who wore glasses.