An increasing number of eye doctors are prescribing contact lenses for children as young as 8, according to a study from the American Optometric Association. Most of these prescriptions are for daily disposable lenses, which are much easier for a young child to care for. However, once children reach their teenage years and can handle more responsibility, doctors are more likely to switch them to reusable lenses. In addition to the visual benefits of contacts, the study found several other compelling reasons for children to wear contacts, including increased self-esteem, the ability to play sports, and greater acceptance among social circles. Other doctors said they are more likely to prescribe contact lenses to children because of an improvement in the lens materials, as well as requests from the parents.
However, before contacts can be prescribed, optometrists must evaluate the patient to determine if contacts are the best choice. The doctor will look at the child’s maturity level, their ability to care for their lenses on their own, their personal hygiene habits, and their parental support, among other things. Only in rare cases will optometrists approve overnight wear of contact lenses in patients under age 18. But for those who are prescribed daily disposable or reusable lenses, it is a great opportunity for children to learn personal care and responsibility. Parents should encourage them to practice hygienic habits with their lenses and teach them to keep them free of scratches and dirt. If you think your child might be a good candidate for contact lenses, schedule an appointment with your True Care optometrist and ask for an evaluation.