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Thomas P. Finley, OD
Contact Lenses Is Your Child Ready?
Dr. Finley's Family Eyecare
. http://visionsource-drfinley.net/

Contact Lenses Is Your Child Ready?

“Mom, can I wear contact lenses?” Parents of children who wear glasses will probably hear this at one time or another. How will you decide what the appropriate answer should be?
Contact lenses are a safe alternative to wearing eyeglasses. Age does not have much effect on a childs ability to wear them. More important is the individuals maturity level. Your child must be responsible and committed enough to follow directions and take care of them properly.
Consider these benefits for a child wearing contact lenses
1. Contact lenses provide better visual efficiency than glasses. Visual acuity may actually be better with glasses, but general visual performance usually seems better with contact lenses. People have the impression they see better.
2. Peripheral (side) vision is usually better with contact lenses since they eliminate the barrier of an eyeglass frame, or the edge of the eyeglass lenses.
3. Contact lenses seem more comfortable than eyeglasses. They wont slip down your nose or pinch behind your ears.
4. Peripheral image distortion from eyeglasses does not exist.
5. Contact lenses do not fog up with temperature changes or get wet when it rains.
6. Contact lenses are great for anyone playing sports or people who have difficulty keeping glasses on their face.
7. Contact lenses help improve an individuals self image. There is no uneasiness about wearing eyeglasses that may be perceived as not being fashionable or cool. This is one of the more common reasons children want contact lenses.
There are many advantages to wearing contact lenses. They are very safe and work extremely well for most people, but are not risk-free. Contact lenses are FDA approved medical devices. If they are not cared for properly, or not fit properly, they can cause serious sight threatening eye problems.
Many of the problems caused by contact lenses are self-inflicted. That means a person wore their lenses too long, or didnt clean, disinfect or replace them as instructed. Or they continued wearing their contact lenses even though their eye was red or felt irritated. Problems can also occur in people who take proper care, but they are not as common.
If diagnosed and treated quickly, most problems resolve nicely and the individual can eventually return to wearing their contact lenses. Close monitoring by your eye doctor is essential. Yearly and scheduled follow up exams will insure your eyes are healthy, youre seeing your best, and your contact lenses are fitting well.
There are many different types of contact lenses available. Most new contact lens wearers choose soft lenses that are replaced regularly (every month, two weeks, or daily). Soft lenses are initially much more comfortable than rigid lenses and perform better for individuals who are active and involved in sports. Replacing them regularly is healthier by keeping clean lenses on the eyes.
Soft lenses are very comfortable and easy to get used to wearing. Caring for the lenses (solutions) has been significantly simplified. The difficult part is learning how to place them on the eye and remove them. This requires practice, and could take up to one hour during the first two weeks of wear. This should be considered when determining when to begin wearing lenses.
For many children, being fit with contact lenses is an exciting and rewarding rite of passage. You as a parent will know when your child is emotionally ready for contact lenses. The final decision should be made among you, your child, and your eye doctor after all information has been discussed.
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