When your child had to sit in the front row at school to see the board, you knew it was time to invest in some glasses. But even though his or her eyewear allows better vision, your child is still reluctant to keep his or her glasses on and wear them to school. Your child may be afraid of the impending ridicule or be simply embarrassed by wearing them.
As a parent, this can be concerning, especially if a child dreads going to school or other areas because of his or her glasses. However, the only other option is contact lenses, and you may be unsure if contact lenses are a wise choice for children.
Is My Child Too Young for Contacts?
Surprisingly, there isn’t a set age for children to start wearing contacts. Eight-year-olds have proven capable of taking care of their own contacts, and even infants have been prescribed contacts for certain eye conditions.
Honestly, what determines if children are ready for contact lenses is their own ability to be responsible and careful.
Before your child gets contact lenses, he or she should have a strong understanding of proper hygiene and should be highly capable of caring for his or her own belongings. Essentially, you should feel like you can trust your child to properly care for the contacts to keep them in good condition and keep his or her eyes healthy.
Why Should Your Child Get Contact Lenses?
If your child is self-conscious about wearing glasses, contacts can help boost his or her confidence while allowing your child to see clearly when he or she needs to. For kids that have thick lenses on their glasses, this can be especially helpful, as they may be embarrassed. Contacts also allow them to see more clearly than they would with glasses because contacts cover a person’s peripheral vision where glasses fail.
Should your child play sports, contact lenses can help them play without distractions. He or she won’t have to keep track of their glasses as they play, and with better peripheral vision, your child can perform better. Contacts also provide steadier vision correction, as they won’t move when your child is running or jumping. Plus, if you child takes a somewhat hard hit to the face with glasses on, he or she could break their glasses, which can be incredibly inconvenient.
Some contact lenses can even slow progressive nearsightedness. If you get the right gas permeable, or GP, contacts, they’ll slow down the growth of the eyes, thus slowing the development of your child’s nearsightedness.
How Might Contact Lenses Be a Problem?
If your child doesn’t properly care for the lenses or uses them irresponsibly, there could be consequences. When the lenses aren’t properly cleaned, your child can get an infection, or he or she might experience eye irritation. Should the situation grow serious enough, your child may even suffer vision loss.
Ensure your child knows how to properly clean their contact lenses, and make sure he or she keeps them in a proper, clean solution. Be sure your child understand that he or she shouldn’t use a substitute solution or liquid, such as distilled water, spit, or tap water.
Also let your child know that he or she should never trade their contact lenses with anyone else and that he or she shouldn’t wear lenses that are too old.
If your child wears makeup, let him or her know that you should only apply makeup after putting contacts in, not before.
Allergies can also cause complications. Should your child have allergies, it may be best to avoid contacts until the allergies clear up. Contact lenses could further irritate the eyes during allergy season.
What are the Best Lenses for My Child?
Depending on your child’s age, it may be best to get contact lenses that need minimal maintenance or can better withstand wear and tear.
Rigid gas permeable, or RGP, contact lenses are stiffer lenses that can take a little extra abuse. They don’t tear as easily as soft lenses, and with modern developments, RGP lenses are as breathable as soft lenses.
Another great option for kids is daily soft lenses. Because you can simply throw them away at the end of the day, your child won’t have to worry about cleaning or storing them for the night. Just be sure he or she doesn’t use a set of dailies longer than a day.
If you think your child is ready for contact lenses, talk to a knowledgeable eye doctor, such as those at All About Eyes. We can offer helpful advice, and we can prescribe the best lenses for your child. Once your child gets his or her contact lenses, we can also educate him or her on how to care for the lenses.
Did you know that you can use your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) to cover eye examinations, prescription glasses, and more? Check out our infographic below for information on what you can use your FSA and HSA for to keep your eyes (and regular checking account) happy and healthy:
Since FSA funds expire at the end of the year, make sure to call or visit your local All About Eyes location and put them to good use!
If you were born any time between the ‘60s and the ‘90s, you probably remember adults around you wearing bifocal lenses, or glasses with two lenses. Most bifocal glasses have a line that clearly separates the second, smaller lens from the larger one.
In 2016, though, you probably see fewer people wearing these types of glasses. Many adults have chosen to wear progressive lenses. These glasses still have multiple planes of focus but without the obvious line that differentiates the lenses from each other.
Nearly everyone needs either bifocal, multifocal, or progressive lenses later in life—but which ones are right for you, and why should you consider choosing progressive lenses over bifocals?
Why Do Most Adults Need Bifocal or Progressive Glasses?
As you age, you almost inevitably develop presbyopia, which translates quite literally to “aging eye.” In 2005, the World Health Organization reported that at least one billion people worldwide had this problem. Presbyopia affects people who have always worn glasses and people who have always had perfect vision alike.
Presbyopia happens because as you age, your eyes’ lenses gradually harden. They’re no longer as elastic as they were when you were young, so they have a harder time focusing on the objects around you, especially on nearby objects. Most people start to notice presbyopia when they can’t see words on a page or computer screen as well as they once did.
While age-related vision changes are certainly annoying, they’re perfectly natural. If you suddenly struggle to see things up close around the age of forty, you’re not alone, and nothing out of the ordinary is happening to you—you don’t need to worry that you’re going blind. Presbyopia is easily corrected with the right type of glasses.
Presbyopia requires a different type of lens correction than nearsightedness or farsightedness. If you only have one of those two vision problems, you only need single vision lenses, where the lens improves your sight at the same level all the way across the lens.
In contrast, if you have presbyopia, you need lenses that improve the way you see both near and far-away objects. As a result, bifocal, multifocal, and progressive lenses have multiple focal points and different amplification levels depending on the part of the lens.
What’s the Difference Between Bifocal and Progressive Glasses?
Most bifocal and multifocal glasses have a clear demarcation between the different parts of the lens. Usually, one of the parts, or segments, is located in the bottom corner of the glasses near the nose. The dividing line between the two prescriptions is usually at the same level as your bottom eyelid.
When you wear bifocals, you shift your gaze to the second lens to look down at a nearby object. When you want to look at something farther away, you gaze up through the top half of the glass. The shift between the two prescriptions and planes of vision feels jarring for many first-time glasses wearers, and it can take time to adjust to the divided sightline.
When you use bifocal lenses, you often experience an “image jump” when you look up and then look down. An object suddenly appears much bigger, which is startling until you get used to it. Your depth perception might feel off for a bit.
In contrast, progressive lenses eliminate the distinct divisions between different prescriptions. There aren’t any lines in the lens—instead, your vision flows smoothly. Like bifocals, you’ll still look up to see far away objects. Unlike bifocals, progressives have a middle or intermediate area. You’ll look straight ahead to see objects in the middle distance — such as a computer screen. And you’ll look down to see objects close to your face, but you naturally make these moves anyway.
Most people have a much easier time adjusting to progressive lenses than they do to bifocal or trifocal lenses. However, bifocal lenses can be a good depending on your individual situation. For instance, if you’ve grown accustomed to bifocals, switching to progressives will take some getting used to. Additionally, progressives can cost a little more than standard bifocals.
Do You Have Other Choices?
If you have presbyopia, you might not need to start wearing progressive or bifocal lenses immediately. If you only have a hard time seeing things up close, you might just need reading glasses, which you use whenever you read or use the computer. However, if your vision is blurry enough that you can’t see near or far things, a progressive set of lenses might be a better option.
You can also try contact lenses that have different prescriptions for each lens. You might use the left lens to see far-away objects and the right lens to see up-close objects. Over time, your eyes and your brain adjust to this mode of seeing. However, the change can be very disorienting at first. It can also give you headaches and limit your depth perception. Your eye doctor can give you more information on this option.
You can also combine both reading glasses and contact lenses. If far-away objects are only slightly blurry, you might be able to wear low-prescription contact lenses and then put on reading glasses to see words on a page or screen.
Finally, some forms of surgery can temporarily relieve the symptoms of presbyopia. Currently, though, surgery isn’t a long-term solution. Advanced long-term solutions could be on the horizon, but for now, glasses and contacts are a non-invasive, practical, and affordable solution to blurred vision.