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Contact Lenses for a Child?

Big Girl is eight. I am considering getting her contact lenses.

I got contact lenses when I was 12. I can still remember how excited I was to be rid of my coke-bottle glasses. (My eyesight is atrocious. My vision is 800/20 in the left eye and 750/20 in the right.) I was a diligent kid, and quickly learned how to put them in, take them out, and carefully disinfect them. Still, I was 12. On the cusp of being a teenager. There’s a big difference between eight and 12.

The reason I’m even contemplating such a move is that Big Girl is terrible about wearing her glasses. Her vision is 20/20 in her left eye. Her right eye is 20/60 — not terrible, but just bad enough that she says her vision is “blurry.” And yet she forgets to wear the glasses all the time. When she does wear them she will leave them places. I just found one of her three pairs — the new one that I paid $150 for, I might add — inside the couch. They had been missing for two months.

Recently, I came across a study out of Ohio State University that found “8- to 11-year-olds can handle the responsibility of contact lenses just as well as their older peers.” The study appeared in the journal, Optometry and Vision Science.

More details from the study: “Children wore their lenses an average of 11 hours a day by the end of the study. By the third month, nine of the 10 children reported that their vision was “pretty good” or “perfect”; all children but one said their eyes were “always comfortable” or “usually comfortable”; eight children said they had little to no problem putting in their contact lenses; and all children reported that they had little to no problem with taking the lenses out.”

Sounds good, right? But would my little girl, who is tightly-wound, sensitive, and a daydreamer be able to handle putting in and taking out lenses? And, as a parent, shouldn’t I just be more forceful about her wearing her glasses? Should I just give up without trying to get glasses-wearing compliance? I’m really not sure, which is why I’m taking to my blog to ask: What do you think about contacts for a child? Does your child wear lenses? How has it worked out? I’d like to know.


2 Responses to “Contact Lenses for a Child?”

  1. Jenn says:

    I got contacts 31 years ago, when I was 10. I too was a tightly wound, sensitive and daydreaming child. Yes, I lost one twice, and ripped one once, but they were the best thing for me. It didn’t take me too long to learn how to handle them, and for the first few days (when I couldn’t wear them all day) my mom would come to school and help me take them out, but I did learn.

    I think she will be fine, and maybe the added responsibility will be good for her.

    I’m looking forward to hearing how it works out.

  2. susan delg says:

    Funny thing, my mother didn’t think I was ready for contacts at 19! I’ve worn them just about every day since I (and my doctor!) said it was time. I don’t know that I would have been ready for the responsibility before that. I know that I would not get them for my 9-year old, but certainly by 12 or 13 I would feel comfortable.

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