Whether your daughter hates the way she looks in glasses or your son is tired of the way they interfere with after-school sports activities, eventually your child may ask about switching from glasses to contact lenses. As a parent, this can be a heavy subject – contact lenses can be expensive and come with a new set of responsibilities which your child may or may not be ready for. While there is no perfect age for a child to make the switch to contacts, a certain amount of maturity is needed when dealing with contact lenses. Here’s some things to ask yourself before purchasing your child their first set of lenses.
Are They Responsible?
If you’re considering contact lenses for your child, consider how they handle other responsibilities. Does he or she have good personal grooming habits? Does your child follow through on household chores and school assignments without constantly having to be reminded? If your child requires frequent reminders about practicing good hygiene, they might not be ready for the hygienic responsibility of contact lenses. Children are usually great contact lens wearers if they’re responsible– if they accept responsibility in other areas of their life, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be ready enough for contacts.
Do They Take Care of Their Glasses?
Glasses are expensive and delicate, as are contact lenses. If financial strain is your main concern, contact lenses can be more affordable than glasses, but only if they’re properly cared for. Kids who make an effort to take good care of their glasses will naturally take good care of their contact lenses. If you’ve had to purchase your child a replacement pair of glasses in the past year, you should probably hold off on introducing the responsibility of contact lenses into their life for just a little longer.
Are They Involved in Athletics?
For children involved in sports, contact lenses can be a lifesaver. Even if your child wears glasses made of impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses, you still have to worry about the frames breaking during contact sports. Not only will these concerns be eliminated with contact lenses, but contact lenses will improve the peripheral vision that enables your child to react faster. Many contact lenses offer better optics than glasses which can lead to clearer vision and an improved performance on the field.
Are Glasses Hurting Their Self-Esteem?
Research has shown that switching from glasses to wearing contact lenses significantly improves how children and teenagers feel about their appearance. If your child complains about how glasses make them look or seems to suffer from low self-esteem as a result of their eyeglasses, switching to contact lenses could work wonders. Regardless of when you decide it’s time for your child to try contact lenses, the decision doesn’t need to be permanent. If your child doesn’t adapt well or isn’t fit for the responsibility, he or she can simply return to wearing glasses until a later point in time.
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What is my role as a parent?
Deciding to wear contact lenses should be a mutual decision between you and your child. It’s important that your child is prepared for the commitment and that you are ready to provide support and guidance. Your child has a responsibility, but so do you. You also need to keep in mind that, regardless of your child’s age, contact lenses are still considered as medical devices that carry certain risks.
Showing your child that you trust them is a must. In fact, children follow instructions on wearing contact lenses better than young adults, especially if you started them on contact lenses at such a young age. Your role as a parent is vital in instilling your child with healthy and safe habits for wearing contact lenses. This will help your child will grow up and take these habits with them until adulthood. It will also minimize, if not totally eliminate, the chances of your child developing unhygienic practices (ex. sleeping in dailies) and encountering problems in the course of their contact lens journey.
Your role as a parent doesn’t end here. Your child will still need constant support in order for them to improve their contact lens safety habits and avoid any eye issues. Before making your decision, make sure you consult with an eye care professional first. This will allow you to determine the best possible option for your child. Bring your child with you so that the eye care professional can give them an eye exam.