Have your child ever come to you showing interest in contact lenses instead of eye glasses? You might have wondered he might not be at the appropriate age. Well, what is the applicable age then? Or sometimes you may also think what contacts are better for your child. Here are some ideas and tips to take into consideration while dealing with these questions.
Parents may think that contact lenses are dangerous for children as compared to eyeglasses but this however is not true. They both can be dangerous if not taken proper care otherwise. And contacts are an alternative to glasses. We will talk about it later.
However, interesting fact is that children’s eyes have a greater degree of tolerance against lenses from a young age.
Does age matter?
The most important factor while deciding whether to wear lenses is not about the age, but it is actually about the level of maturity one has gained and how well one can cope with lenses. If contacts are not properly used, handled and taken care of then it may lead to eye damages.
Therefore a rigorous and punctilious child is the best prospect for lenses.
Age is not an important factor for kids while deciding whether to wear or not but there are multifocal contact lenses that usually adults above age 40 wear as they become Presbyopic. But let’s not beat around the bush.
Indications of Maturity you should see in Your Child before deciding about Contact Lenses.
How can you learn about your child’s maturity level? Well it is simple. See for things such as; is your child opting clean and tidy habits and giving emphasis on hygiene factors? Also does your child undertake responsibilities and instructions more seriously? Or even, having the lack of energy, your child properly organizes things before sleeping?
This is important because lenses need to be taken good care of. It should be properly placed into its container after being removed or else it may get dry, dusty and damage your child’s eye. Compromise on health is not an option.
Are Contact Lenses Beneficial for Children?
Contacts may bring few advantages over glasses, but well, it highly depends on what the doctor has prescribed and also in few cases contacts may not be relevant to a child’s eye. Here are different factors that bring you in a comfortable zone if your child is prescribed for/interested in wearing contact lens.
Peripheral (side) Vision is enhanced:
How does this work? And how is it beneficial for your child? Well, Contact lens fits perfectly in the cornea of an eye and not only gives a better vision of the object in the center but also gives the vision of the whole field (surroundings). This helps in child’s physical activities such as sports and improves his/her ability to perform better.
Fewer Chances of Injuries:
Eyeglasses can have an impact with physical objects; it can break while doing physical activities leading to injuries. Whereas, while wearing contacts, safety equipments can be worn like Goggles, Helmets etc. that might not vex a child and protect his/her eyes as well. Note that, if eyes are rubbed a lot while wearing contact lenses it can lead to eye damage.
In summers, wearing glasses can lead to irritation and may leave a spot on both sides of the nose; it may slip off due to sweating (especially because of exertion). Lenses will not have such problems and will also provide a stable vision (as they don’t slip off).
Boosting your child’s self esteem:
Your child may not like wearing spectacles, due to being insecure of the looks it may give him/her so contacts can be a perfect alternative. Self esteem is an important part of a child, as it may enable him/her to be confident in participating for different activities/events.
Do Contact Lenses Always Provide a Greater Merit Than Eyeglasses For Children?
Now that we have talked about the benefits of wearing contact lenses, there are possible drawbacks as well:
Soft lenses tear easily:
because they are not made up of hard/firm material, cleaning them may easily lead to tearing and scratches. Usually kids are not ready for responsibilities such as properly organizing things and properly handling things, if reminded otherwise, this can be dangerous as eye lenses are delicate and can damage eyes and vision. Spectacles on the other hand are relatively a safe option as they can be easily handled and cleaned.
Not a one-time wear:
Soft eye lenses cannot be worn for too long or used as the only method for vision error because they absorb water from eyes and can result in dry eyes, and so they have to be removed after few hours of wearing. For that reason you still need glasses. This may make a kid annoyed of repeatedly wearing and removing eye lens resulting in lack of motivation to give it a good care.
Contacts do not only come in transparent form but are also available in colored form. Colored lens brings about an opportunity for kids to have different eye colors without compromising on their vision! Colored eye contacts can also work as a matching scheme with your outfit. Kids especially girls usually find it interesting to have colored eyes.
For kids with no vision problem but a desire to have colored eyes, can have Plano eye contacts which plays the role only for changing eye color as they are not for vision correction purpose.
Other Kinds of Contact Lenses
Eye lenses have been revolutionized and are available in many other kinds. Now there are advanced forms of lens; hard lens, extended lens and sun soft lens.
Hard Contact lenses are also known as GPs or RGPs; well these are Rigid Gas Permeable. These lenses are made up of rigid, durable plastic material and allow more oxygen to pass through it than soft lenses to corneal tissues and keep them healthy. This provides a better vision and protects eye to a greater degree as compared to soft lens. In contrast to soft lens, GP (hard) contacts do not absorb tears from eyes not resulting in dry eyes. Such lens can be worn for a continuous period of up to 30 days.
Extended lens is another kind of soft lens and is different from daily wear lens. According to the research (FDA-USA) this lens is made up of silicone hydrogel which is why oxygen is transmitted more easily to the cornea. The special feature of this lens is that it can be worn continuously for 7 days.
Sun soft lens is UV protected lens that allow a less intake of UV rays that protects your inner tissue. This can provide a UV protection to your child’s eye, if your child is much into outdoor activities then this type of lens will perfectly suit the environment.
How Are They Advantageous for Children
Distinctive feature of hard lens, such as being rigid and being made up of hard surface (plastic); dust is not easily amassed on the lens providing a longer life than soft lens. These are also subject to easy wash because due to its hard surface it may not easily get scratched. Also Hard Contacts are stiffer in eyes than soft lenses providing more protection to your child’s eye and giving a better vision of the surroundings.
Extended lens will allow your child to wear it for longer time period without taking into responsibility for removing and wearing it again and again, because repetitive wearing and removing of lens sometimes can damage your eye if carelessly handled.
Are Eye Contacts better than Eyeglasses?
We cannot make a clear distinction between both and as mentioned above it mostly depends on what the doctors have prescribed. Take considerations carefully into account and take proper instructions from your optometrist because they know what is best suited for your eyes. Most often, in Pakistan doctors don’t prescribe contacts to kids instead of spectacles but that doesn’t mean contacts should not be worn or that you should be choosing spectacles over contacts.
Whatever you choose for your child, just remember to check if he/she is properly handling it and taking well care of. Otherwise, it will become subject to scratches and dust leading to poor vision and other eye problems. Eye health depends entirely on the amount of care provided by you for your eye goggles and or contacts, whichever meets your requirement!