Ocular Conditions

Follow-up to study on pediatric contact lenses improving quality of life

Last week, I reviewed a recent study that demonstrated contact lenses improved the quality of life in children whencompared to wearing glasses.   I received a lot of feedback from that study, so I wanted to post a follow-up.

I’m often asked what age children can start wearing contact lenses.   The reality is that I’ve examined 8 year olds that are responsible enough to safely wear contact lenses, while I’ve evaluated 17 year olds that were not.   It really depends on the individual’s level of personal responsibility.

Contact lenses are great for children who play sports.   Glasses can be a handicap in many fast moving sports, although goggle-type prescription glasses may be an exception.  Ultimately, though, contact lenses will provide the best method of vision correction in sports.   They won’t be affected by sweating like glasses.  They do not interfere with helmet use.   And they provide better side vision.

However, this study really points to another benefit of contact lenses in children—improved self-perception and self-confidence.   We all know that kids can  be cruel to each other and sometimes themselves.   Contact lenses may allow children to avoid some of the social hindrances (either perceived or real) that glasses may present.   This could have quite a positive impact on the social and academic aspects of a child’s quality of life.

Ultimately, the decision to try contact lenses has to involve a frank discussion between the optometrist and the parent regarding the child’s level of responsibility.   As always, please shoot me an email or facebook post if you have any questions or comments.