TEENS AND CONTACT LENSES
Teenagers and contact lenses….a good fit? Previously unconcerned adolescents start wanting to look their best. Academics and study become more intensive…sports are often a daily activity: all these factors are relevant. An individual’s willingness and ability to adapt and take proper hygienic care of the lenses weighs in as a key component as well. This is a subject for you, your eye doctor, and your teen to discuss.
ADVANTAGES OF WEARING CONTACT LENSES
1) Looking good! At an age where boys and girls start to care more about their appearance, contacts can help with self esteem and social assurance. Many teens dislike wearing glasses since most of their peers do not wear them. Glasses can feel like a barrier between you and other people.
2) Better vision. Contacts improve peripheral vision and expand your whole visual field. You no longer see the world within a frame as you do with glasses.
3) Care can be easy….especially with daily wear disposable contacts.
4) More motivation to wear the contacts than glasses. It is not unusual for some teens to refuse to wear their glasses which can interfere with academic performance. Also, safety becomes an issue while crossing streets and driving.
5) Easier for sports. Glasses can slip, fog up, fall off, which is why you rarely see professional athletes wearing them. Also, contacts are less likely to be damaged during sports. Safety goggles fit better than when worn over glasses.
6) Less complicated and expensive for sun UV protection-A contact wearer can use non-prescription sunglasses. There is no switching glasses between indoors and outdoors, and decreased chance of losing a pair. Also non-prescription glasses are less expensive.
CONTACT LENS CARE CONSIDERATIONS
Different contacts/ different care options.
Our office highly recommends disposable one day-wear contacts for teenagers since no cleaning regimen is involved. The contacts are tossed in the trash at the end of the day. Easy, safe, and healthy!
Some contacts can be worn all night and slept in. However, it is crucial for you and your child to know whether his/her contacts are this type. Not everyone can wear contacts all day and night. If your child has daytime only contacts, it is important to remove them every night before bed.
Handling the contacts requires clean hands….wash hands before inserting or removing.
Never, never share contacts with others.
Do not put a contact in a red, irritated eye. Call your eye doctor.
Eye make up should be stored and applied in a hygienic manner. Do not hang on to products indefinitely. Mascara, especially, should be thrown away after 3 months.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
1) There are a variety of brands and types of contacts lenses. Your eye practitioner can guide you through this and make the best choice for you on a personalized basis.
2) Laser surgery to improve near sightedness is not an option for teenagers. The FDA requires a minimum age of 18 or 21 for this procedure.
3) Eye exams for contacts differ from other exams. Let your eye care office know if you want to be fit for contact lenses when making an appointment. Plan on spending about an hour for your first appointment.
4) Skip the costume contact lenses. Wearing contacts that are not fitted and prescribed by your doctor could result in eye damage. Contact lenses are a medical device and should be treated accordingly.
5) Any contact lens wearer should have a pair of back up glasses handy. If a lens is lost, an eye becomes irritated, or you have runny eyes from a cold, glasses need to be available for driving, schoolwork, etc.
Wearing contact lenses is an important health related decision. Parental input and counseling is vital. In our many year of fitting and prescribing contact lenses, some of our happiest patients have been teenagers who are at last “free” from wearing glasses. Motivation is usually strong and wearing instructions followed faithfully, since the teen wants to be a successful contact wearer.