Updated Oct. 15, 2020
What age is the right age to begin wearing contact lenses? And are contacts even safe for young children? You might be surprised by the answer.
The ability to wear contact lenses has nothing to do with age. In fact, it’s a matter of whether your child is mature enough to properly handle contacts.
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Kids and Contact Lenses: What’s the Right Age?
Children of all ages can wear contact lenses, even infants.
“The array of contact lenses available to the average patient anymore is phenomenal,” says Scott Drexler, OD, optometrist, UPMC Eye Care and Optical. “It is just anywhere from a daily disposable lens to the newer, very high oxygen-permeable materials. We have a wide variety of lenses available we can use.”
The main question remains: Is your child responsible enough to wear contact lenses? Will they follow your instructions, the doctor’s instructions, and the instructions that come with the contacts for proper use and care?
Keep in mind, it’s common for kids to begin wearing contacts as young teens or pre-teens, and most optometrists say contacts are appropriate between the ages of 10 to 14, according the American Optometric Association.
Contacts Come with Benefits for Kids
Contacts can help your child feel more confident in themselves. Proven advantages of contact lenses include:
- Contacts provide better peripheral vision
- There’s the possibility of slowing the progression of nearsightedness
- They’re better for sports and can be more comfortable during the day
RELATED: Best Glasses for Face Shape
Is Your Child Ready for Contacts?
It all boils down to one question: Is your child responsible enough to care for contact lenses?
Will they properly handle and disinfect the lens? Will they replace worn lenses? Will they avoid sharing lenses or removing them at inappropriate times? Will they remove the lenses before sleep? Ask yourself if your child regularly keeps their grades up at school and helps out around the house. These are good indicators as to whether they’re ready to wear contacts.
Before seeing a doctor, have a discussion with your child about the responsibilities of wearing contact lenses and the importance of keeping them clean.
Before buying your child contacts
The American Optometric Association said the following factors are key considerations before purchasing contact lenses for your child:
- Child’s interest in lenses: Do they want contact lenses?
- Child’s maturity level: Again, are they able to properly care for the lenses?
- Child’s personal hygiene habits: Do they commonly keep their hands and face clean?
- Sports participation: Sometimes glasses interfere with sports and other daily activities.
Have more questions? Learn more by visiting the UPMC Vision Institute website.
About UPMC Vision Institute
The UPMC Vision Institute is a national leader in the treatment of eye diseases and disorders. We seek to improve and restore your vision to help your quality of life, diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions in both children and adults. Our treatments include both surgical and nonsurgical options. We also offer routine eye screenings and have full-scale optical shops. Find an eye expert close to you.