Is Your Child Old Enough For Contact Lenses?

image of contacts from eye doctor Chelsea NYCAccording to data published by the American Optometric Association (AOA), 67% of doctors in the US prescribe glasses to children eight years and younger diagnosed with vision-related conditions. However, doctors are more likely to recommend contact lenses as children grow older. 66% of optometrists surveyed by the AOA say they regularly prescribe them to 15- to 17-year-olds. This has raised concerns among some parents and medical practitioners. They believe that contact lenses are more harmful to children than they are beneficial. Optometric Eye Services LLC, an eye doctor Chelsea NYC, discusses some more information on this topic below.

Making A Case For Contact Lenses

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, contact lenses can be beneficial to children in several ways. Firstly, they provide better peripheral vision than traditional eyeglasses. This is especially the case for children are doing activities that require good hand-eye coordination. For children who regularly play sports, lenses are safer than glasses. They are unlikely to break or shatter into pieces that could harm wearers. What’s more, according to Bernard P. Lepri, an optometrist who works at the FDA’s Contact Lens and Retinal Devices Branch, contact lenses typically enhance quality of vision in nearsighted children better than eyeglasses. Contacts can also boost the self-confidence of children who feel that glasses are unattractive.

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In spite of their benefits, contact lenses can cause more harm than good. Some children do not observe good personal hygiene practices. For instance, the FDA warns that children are prone to wearing other children’s lenses. They also are wearing low quality lenses purchased at flea markets. Some kids use saliva to moisten lenses. Such practices tend to increase the risk of eye infections and injuries. In fact, research published in the journal Pediatrics found that a quarter of the children taken to hospital emergency rooms suffer from complications related to contact lenses. In addition, wearing lenses for prolonged periods often increases the risk of corneal ulcers. This, in turn, increases the risk of permanent vision loss. As such, up to 71% of optometrists surveyed by the AOA say children 18 years and under should not wear lenses overnight.

Handling Contact Lens Conversations

The same survey found that older children (13 years and older) are more likely to initiate conversations about contact lens than younger children. Luckily, older children can understand concepts such as personal hygiene as well as the pros and cons of wearing contacts. For younger children, it is advisable to let optometrists handle conversations surrounding lenses. Doctors are more often the initiators of these conversations among 10 to 12-year-olds, the AOA explains. Nevertheless, you can initiate the conversation about lenses if you can confidently handle it. 96% of optometrists say that a child’s interest in contact lenses is the most important factor they consider. This percentage was taken by a study from the AOA. Finally, since contacts are medical devices subject to FDA regulations, they should be used responsibly and safely. Parents should be actively involved in their children’s contact lens use by making sure that they clean their contacts and dispose of them when necessary.



Contact lenses are beneficial to children because they are safer than traditional eyeglasses during activities like playtime. Contacts can boost self-esteem. They also enhance quality of vision more than glasses. However, contacts can cause significant health risks including increasing the risk of corneal ulcers. What’s more, children may fail to observe good personal hygiene practices or fail to look after their eyes properly.

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Eye Doctor Chelsea NYC

It is best to discuss your child’s eye health with an optometrist. Depending on your child, contact lenses might be best. Others might be better off with glasses. Be sure to find a reputable optometrist that truly cares about your child’s eye care needs and has a high quality of standards.

Schedule an eye exam for your child today in Chelsea, NYC. We are committed to providing each patient with quality vision solutions. Our staff holds firmly to the value of offering excellent service, care and products through friendly, positive and professional teamwork.

We service Astoria NY 11102, Brooklyn NY 11201, Long Island City NY 11101, New York NY 10001, Sunnyside NY 11104, Hoboken NJ 07030, North Bergen NJ 07047, Union City NJ 07087, Weehawken NJ 07086, West New York NJ 07093, and surrounding neighborhoods in NYC.

Call us today at (646) 863-1997 or contact us for any questions that you might have on your eye care needs!

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