When your child needs glasses, she needs to adjust to wearing the specs at home and school and must avoid damaging or losing them, while keeping lenses clean and scratch-free. Some kids dislike glasses and look forward to the time when they can trade up for contact lenses. Because contact lenses require even more specific maintenance, it’s important to assess your child’s readiness before investing in contact lenses.
While it may be tempting to assign a specific age as the minimum age for contact lens readiness, age alone is not a reliable indicator. A child may be ready to handle contacts as young as age 8, according to the Advanced Optometry website. The average age for children beginning to wear contact lenses is between 11 and 14.
A child’s maturity and responsibility level is a key factor in determining contact readiness, according to contact lens maker Acuvue. He must be capable of managing the maintenance and hygiene necessary to take care of contacts and eyes in a safe and healthy manner. He must also be mature enough to understand how to follow instructions and keep the contacts clean or risk damaging his eyes.
When a child has a strong desire to use contacts, she will have the motivation to learn how to handle the contacts, place them into her eyes, take them out, and care for the contacts properly. Children with a strong desire to wear contacts often have increased motivation, which makes them easier to teach, according to the Ohio State University Optometry Services.
Although the bulk of the responsibility for contacts rests on the child, it’s helpful to have a parent involved to oversee and supervise the contact maintenance. The parent should have just enough involvement to check in with the child, ensuring proper care techniques. If you child needs deeper parental involvement, he may not be ready for contacts.
Children’s self-concept and self-esteem has a direct correlation to appearance, including wearing glasses. A low self-esteem may lead to shyness and a lack of participation in school. Contact lenses may be the catalyst to a child overcoming a low self-esteem, according to the GP Lens Institute. In addition, children who participate in some sports activities perform better if they switch from glasses to contacts.
Eye Doctor Recommendations
Before an optometrist prescribes contacts for a child, the eyesight professional generally assesses the child’s readiness and willingness to participate appropriately in maintenance. In fact, if a child demonstrates irresponsible behavior regarding the contacts, the optometris may unprescribe the contacts and represcribe glasses to protect the child’s eyes.
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