How Young Is Too Young For Contact Lenses?

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If your bespectacled child has been begging to wear contact lenses since he or she first developed a need for vision aids, you may be wondering whether now is the right time. Contact lenses can be a great way to improve one's vision during sports, swimming, or other activities where glasses just don't cut it -- but wearing contact lenses isn't always right for everyone, and you may wonder if your child is ready for this transition. Here are some the factors you'll want to consider when evaluating your child's readiness for contact lenses.

Can your child handle his or her own lens care?

Once you become accustomed to wearing contact lenses regularly, lens care and cleaning becomes a fairly simple and routine process, but getting there can sometimes be a battle. If you find yourself still fighting with your child about proper tooth brushing or other parts of his or her hygienic routine, taking care of contact lenses may not be in the cards in the immediate future. 

Are your child's eyes suited for contacts?

Some medical conditions can cause eye sensitivity, making contact lenses a painful experience. If your child deals with severe seasonal allergies, chronic dry eyes, or another condition that often requires eye drops or other topical medications, contact lenses may not be the best choice.

On the other hand, a child who has no other underlying medical conditions should be a good candidate for contact lens wear. He or she may be able to try on a pair in the ophthalmologist's office to see how they feel. 

Is your child being bullied because of his or her glasses?

Although glasses have gained mainstream popularity over the last decade or two, children can still be attuned to anything they deem "different" – which can often make children who wear glasses or braces targets for bullies. If your child has been the victim of teasing bullying because of his or her glasses, switching to contacts may help him or her gain confidence. 

It is important to note that switching from glasses to contacts isn't a foolproof way to avoid bullying; even if you feel your child is ready to make the switch for other reasons, be sure that he or she knows that the bullies may simply seize on another perceived difference. This can ensure that your child's contact lens experience is a positive one and not tinged with unrealistic expectations.  

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