Parents often ask, “How old does a child have to be to wear contact lenses?”They may remember from their childhood that contact lenses were a BIG deal– and at that time, they were. 30 years ago, it was common for people to have one pair of contact lenses that cost several hundred dollars, had to be carefully cleaned every night to prevent infections, and had to be treated delicately so that they would last a full year or even longer.
Times have changed. As contact lens technology has improved, lenses are safer, more breathable, and more frequently replaced. For kids (and adults too) the preferred mode of wear is single-use disposable lenses – thrown away after each use!
This type of lens has many advantages over older re-usable lenses. Since there’s no cleaning, they’re hassle-free, and parents don’t have to worry or nag to make sure their kids are cleaning their contacts. The risk of infection is much lower- there’s no opportunity for bacteria to ever build on the lenses. These lenses are also very comfortable because you’re wearing a brand new sterile lens every single day. They can be worn for all activities, even swimming. Each pair of lenses costs $1 to $2, depending on type and prescription.
There are even single-use lenses for astigmatism, bifocals, and management of myopia- they not only correct the vision but also help slow the growth of the eye to keep the prescription from getting worse.
Even young children can wear contact lenses, as long as the child wants them and has the patience to learn to put them in and take them out. We have fit children as young as 5 years old, and they have done extremely well.
Wearing contact lenses can give children confidence, improve sports performance, and even help them academically. Some children wear lenses full time, and others wear them just for sports or special occasions.
If your child is interested in contact lenses, let us know at their next exam. We’re happy to help!