Most teens are pretty self-conscious about how they look, which often motivates them to trade in their eyeglasses for contact lenses. But contact lens wear in teens affects more than just vanity. The positive physical and psychological effects are far-reaching.
The Adolescent and Child Health Initiative to Encourage Vision Empowerment (ACHIEVE) study revealed that contact lenses can greatly enhance a young person’s self esteem. The ACHIEVE researchers investigated the psychological effect wearing contact lenses had on children and young teenagers over a period of three years and discovered that contact lens wearers reported an improvement in their physical appearance, acceptance among friends, and athletic ability. Contacts even increased confidence in academic performance for some kids. And the benefits don’t stop there.
It turns out that contact lenses don’t only play a role on a kid’s psyche—they have other benefits too. For example, contact lens-wearing teens enjoy sports safety benefits as well. Student athletes who wear contact lenses often enjoy better vision and have more options for protective eyewear. Plus, they don’t have to worry about their glasses slipping from sweat.
Contacts also give teens access to a wider range of sunglasses at a less expensive price point than prescription sunwear. This is a big benefit because it’s very important to protect young eyes against damaging UV radiation.
So how can you determine the right age for kids to start wearing contacts? Although studies indicate that children as young as 8 years old are capable of wearing contacts,1 many eye care professionals begin to encourage wear between ages 11 to 14, as kids start to mature. It’s important to recognize that maturity is not measured in years.
If you’re wondering if your child is mature enough to wear and care for their lenses properly, consider how he or she handles other responsibilities, like homework and keeping things tidy. Your child’s attention to personal hygiene is another good indicator of contact lens readiness.
The introduction of daily disposable contact lenses have helped lessen the need for kids to be super meticulous about lens care, since these lenses are thrown away every night and replaced with a fresh, clean pair in the morning. This gives parents and doctors peace of mind. In fact, three in ten doctors who are likely to fit children with contact lenses attribute their change in fitting behavior to daily disposable contact lenses, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA).
Still wondering if contact lenses are right for your teen? Talk to your eye doctor and ask about the healthier contact lens options, including lenses made of silicone hydrogel. This material delivers oxygen to your eyes much more efficiently than other daily disposable brands, while using less silicone, and is available as a daily disposable, called MyDay.®
1. Contact Lens Spectrum. Fitting Children Into Contact Lenses. November 2012. Available at: https://www.clspectrum.com/issues/2012/november-2012/fitting-children-into-contact-lenses
Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.