Friday, December 8, 2023

Eye on Education: Is Your Teen Ready for Contacts?

Teens who wear glasses are eager to try out contact lenses for convenience, fashion or to just provide another option for vision correction. For teens who feel self-conscious in their glasses, contact lenses can be a way to improve self-esteem. Young athletes have also enjoyed the benefits of contact lenses, especially with the increase in peripheral vision they provide.

While contacts might be a great solution for teens that need corrective eyewear, they do come with added responsibility. Improper use of contact lenses can cause severe discomfort, infections, irritation and the possibility of eye damage or even permanent vision loss.

With Privilege Comes Responsibility

Contact lenses are considered a medical device. They are in direct contact with the cornea for extended periods of time which can alter corneal shape as well lead to increased risk of infection, if not fit properly.

  • Do not obtain or wear contact lenses without an examination and a valid prescription from an eye doctor
  • Always purchase your lenses from an authorized seller.
  • Lenses bought from illegitimate sources have been known to cause micro-abrasions to the eyes that can increase the risk of eye infection and corneal ulcers in worst case scenarios.

It is best to have your Optometrist evaluate your contact lenses, as they possess the expertise to properly fit contact lenses based on the shape of the eye, the prescription, the lifestyle of the child and other factors that may influence the comfort, health and convenience of contact lens use.

Is My Child Old Enough?

There is some debate over the recommended age for kids to start considering contact lenses. Some experts will say the ideal age is between 11 and 14. However, there are many responsible children as young as 8 or even younger who have begun to successfully use them. Key factors that will influence success:

  • Motivation
  • Responsibility
  • Cleanliness
  • Good Hygiene

When you think your child might be ready, you should schedule an appointment with your Optometrist for a contact lens exam and fitting. The process will take a few visits to perform the exam, complete a training session on how to insert, remove and care for lenses, then to try out the lenses at home and finally reassess corneal health as well as the comfort and fit of the contacts.

What Kind of Contact Lens Is Best for My Teen?

The good news is that contact lens use has become easier than ever, with safety, health and convenience being more accessible as technology improves. Improvements in technology have also made contact lenses available for a wider range of prescriptions.

We recommend Daily Disposables, particularly with younger users, because they are easy to use, requiring no cleaning or storing, and therefore they reduce the risk of infection and misuse. You simply throw out the lenses at night and open a new one in the morning. We even offer a recycling program to help reduce plastic waste into the environment. Daily lenses usually come with good manufacturer rebates to help with overall costs. Your eye doctor will be able to help you and your teen determine the best option.

Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

Basic tips that may help your decision to choose contact lenses:

  • Always follow the wearing schedule prescribed by your doctor
  • Always wash your hands with soap before applying or removing contact lenses
  • Never use any substance other than contact lens rinse or solution to clean contacts (even tap water is a no-no)
  • Never reuse contact lens solution
  • Follow the eye doctor’s advice about swimming or showering in your lenses
  • Always remove your lenses if they are bothering you or causing irritation
  • Never sleep in your lenses unless your Optometrist approves it

Get your contact lenses from an authorized source. Never purchase cosmetic lenses without a prescription!Contact lens use is an ongoing process. As a child grows, the lens fit may change as well, so it is important to have annual contact lens assessments. Plus, new technology is always being developed to improve comfort and quality of contact lenses.

If you think you are ready for contact lenses, give Eye 2 Eye Vision Center a call or text @ (757) 259-2300. You can also look us up on the web:

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