There is no minimum age for a child to begin wearing contact lenses. Still, there are some considerations that you and your doctor will need to take into consideration before deciding that your child is ready to start wearing them.
We have had children as young as 6 years old be able to successfully start wearing contact lenses at our office, but that’s not to say that most children at that age will be successful, or that even most teenagers would be able to either! In fact, some adults struggle to maintain the care and cleanliness needed to wear contact lenses without issues, so it really comes down to the wearer and their habits.
If you are considering whether or not your child would benefit from contact lenses as opposed to corrective lenses and aren’t sure if they’d be a good candidate, here are the factors and conditions that we have found can help you, and your doctor make that decision.
Your Child’s Hygiene Habits
Since good hygiene is so important when it comes to caring for your contact lenses and eyes, the ability that your child already has to take care of their eyes and the contact lenses is very important. Do they regularly wash their hands and brush their teeth with little to no prompting? If they have mastered this level of hygiene, they may be ready for contact lenses.
Your Child’s Maturity Level
Taking care of contact lenses and wearing them properly is a big responsibility. If your child has demonstrated responsibility and maturity in other areas of their life, they may be old enough to wear and care for their contact lenses successfully.
How are they about completing their daily chores or other responsibilities on a daily basis? Do they finish the job, or do they cut corners? If they are diligent and responsible with their tasks (folding laundry, brushing their teeth, unloading the dishwasher, homework, etc.), they may be ready for contact lenses.
Your Child’s Lifestyle
If your child has successfully cared for their eyeglasses (they have been able to have a pair without breaking or losing them for 6 months or more), they may be ready for greater responsibility. Also, if they play sports or regularly engage in other activities that make wearing glasses difficult or even risky, contact lenses may be a good fit for them. There are many benefits to wearing contact lenses over glasses, and vice versa, so make sure to discuss the type of activities that your family and child enjoy with your doctor.
In our office, when we see that a child can properly insert and remove their contact lenses, that gives us a lot of confidence in their ability to do the same at home. The child should be able to repeat back to us the entire process (and demonstrate) of caring for their contact lenses, their eyes, and the proper insertion and removal too. This also gives you as a parent a lot of confidence too!
So as you can see, the answer to this question is “it depends,” as is often the case for many things. If you think that your child may be ready for contact lenses, but aren’t quite sure or have concerns, schedule an appointment with us to assess and evaluate your child’s eyes, vision, and ability to be successful!