Are your teenagers tired of wearing heavy spectacles? Are they asking for switching to contact lenses? It’s usual for the teenagers to feel that clunky and thick glasses cramp their style.
By the time the children turn 13, they become aware of the way they look. And as parents, we understand that you are concerned about your teen’s eyes, and so we are too! That’s why we have tried to address your concerns in this guide.
Let’s dive in.
Wearing Contact Lenses: What’s the ideal Age?
The issue is not the age but it’s whether they are mature enough to handle the responsibility that comes with wearing lenses. Usually, eye care professionals never recommend contact lenses to kids until they are at least 13 years old.
It’s because younger kids aren’t mature enough to handle contact lenses properly. It is often suggested that if you are considering contact lenses for your teen, it’s important that you first evaluate how they handle their responsibilities, especially personal hygiene.
You need to be vigilant about whether your teen is handling the contact lenses properly or not. Kids and teens often tend to moisten the lenses using saliva or buy coloured lenses from beauty stores just for the sake of fashion.
These are extremely dangerous behaviour and can put their eye safety at stake. If only the teen is mature enough to care for the lens properly and use it as per the recommendation of the eye care specialist, you may consider allowing them to use contacts.
Determining the Best Contact lenses for your teenager
There are a number of factors that should be considered to determine which contact lenses suit your teen. But before that, let’s take a look at the type of contact lenses that are available.
Types of Contact Lenses
There are several varieties of lenses to choose from:
- Soft contact lenses: Most of the people opt for soft lenses as these are comfortable to wear. People who have sensitive eyes can easily wear soft lenses. Standard soft lenses can correct vision issues such as farsightedness and nearsightedness. Specially designed soft contact lenses are known as Toric Contact Lenses and can also correct Astigmatism.
- Gas permeable (GP) contact lenses. These lenses are made of a rigid plastic that’s oxygen-permeable. These lenses do not allow oxygen to reach your lenses. These lenses provide sharp vision than soft lenses but these take longer to adjust. These lenses can correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism.
- Hybrid contact lenses. The central part of these lenses is made of a GP material. This gives you a crisp vision. The central part is surrounded by a soft lens that allows you great comfort. These lenses can correct astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness.
- Daily wear Contact lenses. These lenses come in categories such as extended wear, planned replacement, disposable and daily wear contacts.
- Contact lenses with sun protection. There are many lenses that safeguard your eyes from UV rays. However, if you are using these lenses, always use UV protected sunglasses while stepping out in the sun.
- Tinted Contact lenses. There are many contact lenses that have a light “handling tint.” These are colour enhancing lenses and can give change the appearance and colour of your eye lenses.Teens who do not have vision issues can also use coloured lenses. Particularly, if they are into sports, there are lenses available with a special tint that can increase contrast. So, your teen can see the baseball or tennis ball clearly. Before wearing any lens, always consult an eye care expert.
- Customised contacts. These contact lenses are used to mask scars or corneal irregularities cause by eye disease or injury.
How to determine the type of contacts your teen needs?
Consider these factors while selecting the best contact lenses:
- Choose extended wear contacts if your teen has the habit of wearing lenses for long hours and forgets to take them out before sleeping. However, not all eyes can tolerate extended wear lenses.
- Bifocal or multifocal contact lenses can be used if your teen has presbyopia. However, if these are of not much help, consult the doctor and see if your teen has monovision or not. In that case, the doctor may suggest monofocal lenses for one eye with distance vision and another lens for near vision.
- If your teen wants the sharpest possible vision but cannot wear gas permeable lenses comfortably, then go for hybrid contact lenses.
Consult an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist before selecting any contact lenses for your teen’s eyes.
Talk to the doctor. See what he/she suggest. If they suggest your teen to wear a disposable lens then always go for daily disposable soft lenses instead of the cheaper disposable lenses that are usually worn for two weeks before disposing off.
Taking care of these lenses is simple. Your kid need not disinfect and clean them daily. Moreover, your kid will learn how to wear them in and take them off faster if they have to change it every day.
What about Decorative Contact Lenses? Are they good for your Teen?
Coloured and cosmetic contacts have fast become a teenage fad. And it’s usual for you to be concerned about your kid’s vision. Your teenager child may want lens colours like his/her favourite actress or actor.
But it has to be kept in mind that using coloured lenses without consulting an eye specialist can be risky. Low-quality lenses may cause injury, serious eye infection, and even vision loss.
Coloured or decorative contact lenses can change the way the eyes look. For instance, if the eye lenses are black, using coloured lenses you may turn them blue, brown, or green. However, these lenses do not correct vision. Never buy coloured contact lenses from flea markets or beauty stores and without prescription. It comes with numerous risk factors.
Contact lenses not only help the teenager see better but also makes them feel better. Glasses often block the peripheral vision or the side vision. This can be problematic for them.
With contact lenses, peripheral vision won’t be an issue. Also, glasses go out of style with changing fashion norms (in case your teenager is fashion conscious). Some may not like wearing glasses at all, especially when their vision issue is severe and they are using super-thick glasses.
Often they might get ridiculed for it. Contact lenses are an effective solution for it. However, in any case, contact lenses should not be considered as a fashion accessory.
Decorative Lenses: Know the Risks
Wearing decorative contact lenses is risky. Even if your kid is using contact lenses for vision correction, not using them properly can cause serious damage to the eyes.
The risk includes:
- Corneal Abrasion (A scratch or cut on the cornea, the topmost layer of your eye)
- Itchiness and redness of eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Hazy vision
Eye infection is pretty common when your teen wears any type of lens without any prescription or without consulting the doctor. Rush to the eye specialist immediately of they complain of:
- Pain in the eye(s) that won’t go away for long
- Hazy or blurred vision
These are symptoms of eye infection and if not treated properly, it might even cause complications and even blindness.
Ensure that your teenage kid is following the doctor’s instruction regarding cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses.
Taking Care of Contact Lenses: the Do’s and Don’ts
If your teenager is considering wearing contact lenses then ensure that they should be following these tips:
- Ensure that they always wash and rinse their hands properly before handling the lenses or before touching the eyes. For washing the hands, they must use mild non-cosmetic soap. It important to dry the hands with tissues or a lint-free cloth before handling the lenses.
- After removing the lenses, ensure that they clean their lenses as instructed by the eye care practitioner. Never use anything except the recommended solution to do so.
- At least once in a week, clean the lens storage case with warm water. Make sure to rinse them properly and wipe dry with clean tissue.
- When handling lenses always make sure to work over a clean flat surface. Never handle the lens over a sink and even if you do, plug in the sink first.
- If you drop your lenses, clean and rinse them thoroughly (using the solution) before wearing them.
- Consult an eye care expert if your teen experiences pain, discomfort, redness, excessive tearing for no apparent reason. These are symptoms of an eye infection.
- Always replace the lens solution one month after opening. Throw it away even if you haven’t finished the container.
- Let you teen carry the storage case and solution with them wherever they go.
- Always keep their eyeglasses up-to-date so that they may use them in case the lens is broken or if they have lost them or have been advised to not use them for a certain period of time.
- Do not let any chemical get into their eyes. Ask your teenage child to close their eyelids while using hairsprays and any other cosmetic sprays. These sprays may form a residual layer on the lens.
- Ask them to always wear goggles when swimming while wearing contact lenses. Ask them to wear protective glasses or sunglasses in situations when there are chances of dust, sand particles and grit entering the eyes. For instance, wearing protective glasses is a must while gardening, riding bikes, sanding etc.
- In case foreign material has entered their eyes, ask them to clean and replace the lens. If you aren’t sure that the dust particle is removed, avoid rubbing the eye and immediately contact the eye care specialist.
- Do not wear lenses if you are not feeling well.
- Never wear lenses if your eyes are unusually red, itchy, and uncomfortable
- Never put a lens in your mouth or use saliva for cleaning or lubricating them.
- Do not use tap water for cleaning lenses. Never soak them in water or rinse them.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes while wearing lenses.
- Avoid mixing up your lenses. Your teenager might get confused when using a lens for the first time. The best way to avoid this confusion is to always wear the right lens first. Ensure that it sits safely on your eye or in the storage case before trying out the left one.
- Avoid exposing the lenses or storage case to extreme temperature or heat.
- Never apply eye makeup inside the waterline. Teenage girls must use eye makeup sparingly if wearing lenses. Even if they are applying then they should do it on the upper lid only.
- Do not swap contact lenses with anyone and know when to replace a contact lens.
- Always ask your teenage daughter to use hypoallergenic skin products and products that are specially made for those who wear contact lenses. Also, ask them to always put eye makeup after wearing the lenses and not before them. This saves the lenses from chemical contamination.
If your teenage kids have seasonal allergies, then wearing lenses is not recommended for them. An ophthalmologist or eye care practitioner is the best person to guide you in this regard. Get in touch with the best eye care professionals at Disha Eye Hospital. Contact us today at http://www.dishaeye.org/appointment.