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3 Things You Need to Know About Your Child and Contact Lenses

Sports, clubs, and other hobbies are at the heart of every active Canadian kid’s after school plans. Leading a lifestyle full of extracurriculars means that more children are now interested in making the switch from glasses to contacts. Contacts are ideals for sports, can boost self-confidence, and for some parents, are more affordable than having to replace glasses that are lost, damaged, or simply outgrown. But before your child makes the switch from glasses to contacts, here are a few things you may want to consider.


1. Think about maturity

In most cases, a child's eyes can tolerate contact lenses from a very young age. In fact, even newborns are sometimes prescribed contact lenses to help deal with a congenital vision issue. That being said, just because your child can wear contacts doesn't mean they should. A recent study from the American Optometric Association found that 90% of children between the ages of 8 and 11 had trouble applying and removing disposable contact lenses without the help of their parents.


That means that if you're thinking about contacts for your child you may want to look more at their maturity level rather than their age. Can your child handle the responsibility of removing, cleaning, and applying their contacts? Do they know what to do if they need to take out their contacts or have an issue when you're not around? If not, you might want to stick with glasses for a few more years.


2. Think about prescription

If you already have a prescription for your child for glasses, that doesn't necessarily mean you can simply use it to get contact lenses. In fact, depending on the strength of your child's prescription and their overall vision health, your doctor may not recommend contacts at all as there could be potential issues you aren't aware of.


There may also be other prescription issues that could limit the use of contact lenses. For example, if your child needs corrective eyewear for seeing distances, wearing contacts all day may actually result in headaches (since it would also magnify close up objects, such as a book). That's something that a child wearing glasses wouldn't have to deal with, since they could simply remove their eyewear when reading. Your best bet is to speak with your optometrist to get a recommendation and find out if your child's prescription is suitable for contacts.


3. Think about why they're needed

One question worth asking is what your child hopes to get out of their contact lenses. Many children feel self-conscious about wearing glasses, and making the switch to contacts can be a self-esteem booster.


Your child may also want to consider contact lenses if they're actively involved in sports. That's because even impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses can become smudged and dusty, which could affect performance. Contacts allow young athletes to see clearly and not have to worry about losing or damaging their eyewear. 


One thing to bear in mind is that making the switch from glasses to contacts doesn't have to be a permanent decision. In fact, a lot of optometrists are willing to provide sample trials to see how well your child handles wearing and caring for their contacts. If it doesn't work out, your child can always go back to wearing glasses. The most important thing is to make sure that you speak to your optometrist and take the time to make the decision that's right for your child.


To find out more about contact lenses for your child, book an appointment at an FYidoctors near you.