Teens and Contact Lenses: Is my child too young for contacts?

How old does my child have to be before they can wear contact lenses?

The answer is that there is no age limit. Babies can wear them, and so can seniors. However the real issue with young teenagers and contact lenses is whether or not they are responsible enough to wear and take care of their lenses properly.

Most eye care professionals encourage contact lens wear from the age of 11 to 14, however parents, the teens themselves, and their eye care practitioner must make this decision together.

Are contact lenses safe?

For teens, contact lenses may be safer than eyeglasses in many situations (if cared for properly). This is most likely the case while playing weekend sport, especially if it is a contact sport. It is important to note that your teenager should never swap lenses with friends or wear them longer than prescribed, and regular eye examinations are important.

How can I ensure my teenager wears their contact lenses safely?

Follow these guidelines to reduce your teenager’s risk of most contact lens related eye problems. If a problem does occur, seek immediate advice from your optometrist.

  • Always wear contact lenses under the supervision of a qualified optometrist who should examine your teenager’s eyes at least every six months.
  • If the contact lenses are worn only for a special purpose (for example at soccer once or twice a week) it is fine for you to help your child or teen with insertion and removal of the lenses. However if lenses are worn most days then your teen should master this themselves.
  • If your teenager has contact lenses that require cleaning after every wear, choose a preservative free cleaning system.  Most all-in-one cleaning systems are preserved and harsh on tender young eyes.
  • Supervision by a parent or responsible adult is essential. If the lenses require cleaning, teach your teen how to do this effectively and reiterate the importance of hygiene in safe contact lens wear.
  • Avoid cosmetic contact lenses such as novelty or party designs, which encourage poor hygiene habits.
  • Take regular breaks from contact lens wear. For example, the contact lenses are only worn at school or sport rather than full-time.
  • Make sure your teen understands that contact lenses should not be worn over-night, not even occasionally.
  • The same goes for swimming in contact lenses, especially in swimming pools. Prescription goggles are a better alternative.

How can Eye5 help your child?

Did you know our very own Andrew Godfrey is an expert in contact lens fitting? In fact, he was responsible for introducing hybrid contact lenses to Western Australia to help people who find RGP or hard contact lenses uncomfortable. There are very few practitioners around who specialise in fitting custom contact lenses!

To see if contact lenses are right for your teenager, book an appointment with Andrew today.


Guideline points courtesy of All About Vision

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