LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Little Rock Eye Clinic) -- Should you let your child wear contact lenses? The choice of letting a pre-teen or tween switch from glasses to contacts often comes down to one important factor: Are they ready?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology's long-standing position is that "When children and teenagers use [contact lenses], it is especially important that both children and caregivers understand the risks."
Dr. Dan Hennessey, with Little Rock Eye Clinic, explains the risks and things to consider before letting your child wear contacts on "THV 11 News This Morning"
1. Maturity Matters
There is no perfect age but a certain amount of maturity is needed when dealing with contact lenses. I have fitted contact lenses on children as young as 8, but the success rate rises dramatically at age 11 or 12. The child has to know how to care for the lenses themselves, without the assistance of a parent.
2. Remember, These Are Medical Devices
The FDA recently reviewed medical records from 100 hospitals and found that 23 percent of contact lens injuries, such as infections and abrasions, involved children and teens. Contact lenses are medical devices that require a prescription, proper fitting by an eye care professional and a commitment to proper care by the consumer.
3. Find the Right Lenses
There are countless lens options from which to choose - daily versus extended wear, disposable, soft lenses, bifocal lenses, etc. Talking to your doctor about the best type of lens that will work both with your child's vision correction needs and his or her habits is the first step.
4. Cosmetic or Decorative Contact Lenses
Cosmetic or decorative contact lenses are colored contacts that change the appearance of your eye color, and in the case of circle lenses also make your iris appear bigger.
Decorative lenses are available by prescription and should only be worn after an eye exam and fitting by qualified eye care professional.
Over-the-counter decorative contacts, including circle lenses, are illegal and pose a serious danger to your eye heath. They can cause eye injury, eye infection and vision loss.