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 Benefits of Contact Lenses for Kids

Contact Lense

What are the benefits of contact lenses and at what age can a child safely wear them? Wearing contact lenses is not a matter of age, but instead depends on the individual's eye condition. Your child's ophthalmologist can tell you if your child is able to wear contacts. Boys Town Pediatric Ophthalmology shares tips to help you determine if contacts are a good fit for your child.

Benefits of Contacts

Contact lenses are small, curved plastic pieces shaped to fit eyes and help correct vision problems. The lenses float on top of a thin layer of tears on the cornea, the clear outer layer on the front of the eye. Contact lenses can correct most of the vision problems that glasses correct and can also correct problems glasses cannot. Some of the benefits for children with contact lenses include:

  • Sports Performance and Safety. Contact lenses work better than glasses if your child plays sports or is involved in physical activities frequently. Contacts allow a child to have better access to the side and are safer to wear.
  • School Performance. Your child may want to wear contact lenses and may refuse to wear glasses because of the appearance. Your child's attitude toward glasses can affect school performance and self-image.
  • Nearsighted. Contact lenses may provide better vision than glasses if your child is very nearsighted or has cornea damage from a disease or injury.

Main Types of Contact Lenses

There are different types of contact lenses including disposable, soft and gas permeable. Each kind has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the wearer's need.

  • Disposable. Disposable contact lenses are usually prescribed for children under the age of 13 and may be used from one day and up to one month, depending on the lens. They are comfortable and easier to care for than regular soft contacts and work well if your child participates in sport activities.
  • Soft. Soft lenses are very flexible, easy to adjust, require cleaning and sterilizing and are usually more comfortable than gas permeable lenses.
  • Gas permeable. Gas permeable lenses are made from a harder plastic than disposable or soft lenses. These lenses may correct vision better than soft lenses, especially for a child with a cornea that is scarred or has an uneven shape.

Contact lenses may not be right for your child if an eye disease affects the surface of the eye or if your child has trouble with cleaning responsibly. Remember, vision will change frequently and contacts will need to be replaced often. Schedule an eye exam at least once a year with a pediatric ophthalmologist to see if your child has any eye changes and if contact lenses are a fit for your child.