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Contact lenses and Children

For parents of most short sighted children, there comes a time when glasses are no longer appealing, and questions about contact lenses arise. However, determining when a child is ready for contact lenses is not simply a question of age. 

The two most important factors to be considered when assessing your child's suitability for contact lenses are, firstly, which type is most suitable, and secondly, but directly related, whether or not your child is able to take responsibility for their own eye health and treat contact lenses appropriately.

A recent study by Jeffrey Walline et al, published by the Journal of the American Academy of Optometry1 , examined the use of daily disposable contact lenses by 8-11 year olds, directly addressing these concerns.

Physically, the eye is able to tolerate contact lenses from a very young age. Young children and even babies are regularly treated with contact lenses for conditions present from birth. However, they are not routinely prescribed for children for the correction of myopia (short sightedness), despite the prevalence of the condition, due to practitioners' concerns about a child’s ability to insert and remove lenses, clean and store them properly, and remember to remove them at night.

Walline's study ascertains that daily disposable lenses are therefore a great option for children and young teenagers, as they do not require daily cleaning and disinfecting. They are comfortable and convenient, and allow for frequent replacements accommodating growth and development of the child's eyes. Their advantage over extended wear lenses (which can be worn constantly for 30 days and then simply disposed of), however, is that they teach children to be aware of their lenses and in turn the health of their eyes. They still need to take the time every morning and night to insert and remove the lenses, and get into the habit of thoroughly washing and drying their hands before touching the eye area.

In addition, several factors make contact lenses a better option than glasses. Activities such as sports and dance are made simpler without glasses, and leave you free to enjoy watching without the worry of expensive damage repairs. 

Although stylish design in the field of eyewear has come a long way, many self-conscious youngsters simply feel more comfortable and confident without glasses. 

Whether contact lenses are suitable for your child is a question that can only be answered by your child, and each case must be judged on individual merits. Discuss options extensively with your optician, but, most importantly, with your child. When used correctly they pose no threat to their health, and offer many benefits. Many opticians have found older children ideal patients, as they follow instructions better and take important information more seriously. Children's natural adaptability means they can accommodate a new idea quickly, and if complications do arise, no decision needs to be final. Your child can always make the transition back to glasses without any lasting damage being done.

 

[1]         http://journals.lww.com/optvissci/Fulltext/2004/04000/Daily_Disposable_Contact_Lens_Wear_in_Myopic.11.aspx


Difference between hard and soft contact lenses

 

Anything on this site is not intended in any way to be a replacement for, or as a substitute to, qualified advice you should always consult your doctor or other appropriately qualified person or service. 

 

 

 

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