The most frequently watched video on the NJSOP YouTube page http://www.youtube.com/user/NJSOP is an interview that Dr. Kimberly Friedman did on Fox 29 a few years back about kids and contact lenses. The video, titled Kids & Contacts: How Young is Too Young?, has yielded over 66,000 views and almost 200 viewer comments.
As Dr. Friedman points out in the interview, there is no “right” age for kids to get contacts. Often, it depends on the maturity of the child and their ability to handle the responsibility that comes with having contact lenses.
Dr. Michael Tortorici, who was interviewed for a New Jersey Family Magazine article on the same subject, agrees.
“Technically, a child of any age can be fit with contact lenses,” says Dr. Tortorici. “Parents should consider their child’s maturity level and their child’s individual needs when deciding whether or not contact lenses may be right for them.”
According to Dr. Friedman, children who play sports are more likely to need or want contacts at a younger age.
“Very often children don’t want to wear their dress glasses or sports goggles,” says Dr. Friedman, “so the contact lenses allow them to have the safety of not having dress glasses on along with better peripheral vision for sports.”
As far as fitting children for contacts, lenses are designed to fit each individual no matter what age, so fitting a child should be no more difficult than fitting an adult.
Several safety tips for parents of contact lens wearers to keep in mind include:
- Never let your child sleep in lenses.
- Make sure your child follows the guidelines of your eye-care professional.
- Visit your optometric physician if your child exhibits any unusal signs of discomfort, redness, itchiness, etc.
Want more information on contact lenses for kids? Check out this article from New Jersey Family Magazine which uses survey data collected by the American Optometric Association to detail what optometric physicians think about the subject: http://www.njfamily.com/NJ-Family/October-2012/Kids-and-Contact-Lenses/