Until recently, when a child was diagnosed with myopia—more commonly known as nearsightedness—it often meant glasses with continually higher prescriptions as the condition progressed and vision got worse as they grew. However, as vision care continues to advance, so too has technology to treat and control myopia. It’s important to remember that making your child’s vision clear again is only half the battle. It’s equally important to focus on keeping the myopia from getting worse so quickly. Today, that’s possible with contact lenses. But even with modern myopia treatment options, you’ll still likely have questions.
Are all contact lenses for kids created equal?
While contact lenses for kids can help them see more clearly, they don’t slow the progression of myopia, which means kids may need increasingly stronger prescriptions as they continue to grow.1 However, certain types of contact lenses—including soft lenses—can slow down the speed at which myopia gets worse.2
How old do you have to be to wear contacts?
You might be asking “Can my child wear contacts?” Fortunately, contact lenses are a safe option to correct vision in children.4,5 Studies have shown that kids as young as 8 years old can successfully wear daily disposable soft contacts.6 In fact, in one report, 9 out of 10 children as young as 8 years old were able to insert and remove their lenses on their own.”†7
Of course, studies are about averages. What about your child? Is your child ready for contact lenses? Here are a few tips to help you decide, in addition to some points to consider to create a successful experience for your child, if you and your eye care provider determine they are ready to wear contact lenses.
Contacts for kids: Daily disposable are the preferred option
Remember when wearing contact lenses was considered challenging? You wore the same ones for two weeks or possibly even longer. You needed a steady supply of contact lens solution—if you remembered to keep the bottles stocked—and contact lens cases.
The use of daily disposable contact lenses offers a convenient choice that extend beyond just clear vision. For daily disposable contact lens wear, there is no need to clean, disinfect or store the lenses because they are discarded after each use. There’s also a cost savings that comes with dailies, since they don’t require the purchase of contact lens solutions.
Tips when starting your child with contact lenses
Once you and your child’s eye doctor have determined that contacts are the best option, try these tips to help your child feel confident with wear:
Tip 1: Insert and remove the contact lenses together until your child feels confident. Stand in the mirror and talk it through, step by step.
Tip 2: Make a contact lens checklist and place it on the mirror to reinforce a consistent morning and evening routine that starts with washing and drying their hands.
Tip 3: Watch this helpful how-to video together before you start and anytime you need a refresher.
Tip 4: Set a gradual pace for how many hours your child will wear the lenses each day and build from there. Start with shorter timeframes in the beginning (a few hours at a time) and then slowly increase to 10 hours. That said, follow your doctor's instructions on how many hours the child should wear the lenses each day.
Tip 5: If possible, start contact lens wear when your child doesn’t have a strict morning schedule, like on a weekend or during a break from school. This will allow more time for practice and minimize any pressure to rush through the process.
Tip 6: Create a fun on-the-go contact lens kit to store all the necessities, like extra lenses and a mirror, in case your child needs to change a lens during the day, to fill in the gaps if they’re at school, a friend’s house, or practice.
Tip 7: If you wear contact lenses, have your child observe you in the process and model the best steps for putting in and removing the contact lenses.
Your child’s not alone: See Violet’s story
Understanding that your child isn’t alone and watching some contact-lens-wearing success stories from your child’s peers may make you feel less worried about your child wearing contact lenses.
11-year-old Violet has been wearing MiSight® 1-day contact lenses (designed for age-appropriate children*) for nearly two years, ever since she was first diagnosed with myopia. In a short amount of time, Violet learned how to independently put in and take out her MiSight® lenses, and with a little instruction, she knows other kids can be successful, too.†7 In this video, you and your child can watch Violet’s step-by-step daily contact lens routine. She demonstrates all the steps a child can take to safely insert and remove their contact lenses from washing their hands to positioning the lens on their fingertip and holding their eyelids open. Lastly, she shows the proper way to safely remove the lenses at night before disposing of them. Once you and your child have seen Violet do it, you’ll both have greater confidence and a better understanding of just how easy wearing MiSight® contact lenses can be for kids.8
Talk with your eye doctor to determine if contact lenses are the right option for your child. You can find a MiSight® certified eye doctor and get your free trial of MiSight® contact lens here.