The Right Age for Contacts

While some children enjoy the fashion statement of eyeglasses, others prefer their appearance without them. For young children or teens who refuse to wear their glasses, many parents are left with the question: "Is my child old enough to wear contact lenses?"

What's the right age for contacts? Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer. Physically, the eyes can tolerate contact lenses at a very young age. In rare cases, even some babies are fitted with contact lenses. The decision of whether a child is ready to wear contact lenses is directly related to his or her maturity, and should be determined together by the parent, child, and the eye care professional.

If you are considering contact lenses for your child, think about how he or she handles other responsibilities. If your child requires frequent reminders to do everyday chores or schoolwork, they may not be ready for the responsibility of wearing and caring for contact lenses. Children who dutifully handle their responsibilities may be better candidates for contact lenses.
On average, most eye care professionals prefer to fit contact lenses after the child has reached his or her teenage years. In addition to helping some children build self-esteem, contact lenses can be useful for student athletes. Some contact lenses used for recreational use can provide better optics than eyeglasses, and often provide better peripheral vision. It is important to stress that contact lenses DO NOT provide eye protection for sports or other activities that could involve impact or injury to the eye.

It is important to establish a dialogue with parents when determining if a child is ready for contact lenses, and to remember that the decision to be fit into contact lenses does not eliminate the need for a current pair of backup glasses. If a child does not adjust well to contact lenses or cannot handle the added responsibility of wearing and caring for them, glasses are the best option for vision correction. Contact lenses can always be tried again when the child is more mature.

To determine if contact lenses are right for your child or teen, please call us to schedule an appointment. Our doctors will help you and your child make this important decision.