Are Contact Lenses an Option for Teens With Glasses?

Brunette teen girl with glasses

There are many people who need vision correction. Reasons can be hereditary, or a result of infection, injury or illness. It’s not only seniors and middle-aged people who need help with vision impairment.

Teens account for a good proportion of those who need vision correction. In fact, a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that 51.9% of teenage girls and 38.8% of teenage boys wear some form of corrective lenses. Teens with glasses may prefer contacts for both aesthetic reasons and convenience.

Is your teenager thinking about contacts? Let’s look at what you (and your child) need to know about wearing and caring for contact lenses.

What Age Can a Teen Start Wearing Contact Lenses?

Smiling young woman taking glasses off

There is no minimum age to start wearing contact lenses. However, the individual must be responsible enough to properly use and care for them. Contaminants on contacts can cause infections. Storing them in a special solution and cleaning them at regular intervals can prevent such occurrences.

Most of the time, eye doctors will recommend that a child begin wearing contacts around the ages of 11-14. But if a child is responsible enough and can wear them comfortably, he or she can begin sooner. A discussion with your teenager and doctor is best to see if contacts are appropriate.

Are Contact Lenses Difficult or Painful for Teens?

Although many people face difficulties adjusting to their contact routines, this only happens in the beginning. Your teen needs to get used to putting lenses in, taking them out, rinsing, and storing them. From there on out, it should be smooth sailing.

Contact lenses should not be painful for people of any age. They will only be problematic if there is something wrong. This includes debris, leftover makeup, or bacteria and fungus that cause infections. Other issues may be poorly fitted or damaged lenses.

In any of these cases, it’s best to consult the eye doctor if your teen experiences discomfort after putting in contacts. The simple act of wearing them should not be difficult or uncomfortable.

What if My Teen Has Dry Eyes?

Teen boy using tablet

Dry eyes can be an issue for people of all ages, whether they wear contacts or not. This problem is becoming pervasive with the increasing usage of screen-based technology, which is popular with teenagers. However, you can discuss this issue with the doctor. He or she can help your child choose a brand of contact lenses designed for dry eyes. Several offer soft hydrating contacts, which keep the eyes moist and comfortable.

Do Teens With Glasses Have to Wear Contacts Full Time?

Switching from glasses to contacts full time is a matter of preference, as long as it follows the eye doctor’s recommendation. Many people find contacts more comfortable than glasses. There are less restrictions both visually and physically during daily activities.

Glasses can be cumbersome when you’re active. But exposing your contacts to water is a risk for infection. It’s best to wear waterproof goggles or daily disposables if swimming. Knowing your teen’s habits can help decide whether or not contacts are appropriate to wear on a full-time basis.

How Will My Teenager Care for Their Contact Lenses?

contacts case and bottle of solution

In order to maintain healthy eyes, your teen will need to care for his or her contact lenses. Eye infections can lead to blindness if left untreated. Therefore, it is paramount that he or she is serious about contact care.

Your child will need to observe the contacts’ expiration dates. Even if the packaging has not been opened, the best course of action is to throw away all expired lenses. This is because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot guarantee that the solution is still effective and the packaging is still airtight.

It is also important to only wear contacts for their prescribed time frames. If your teenager’s contacts are weeklies, he or she should switch to new pairs each week. Wearing them for longer can result in infections.

Additionally, your child will need to take out his or her contacts when sleeping. There are, however, special contact lenses that can be worn overnight. The doctor can determine whether or not such lenses are appropriate.

Your teenager’s contact lenses should be stored in the correct solution. They should never be put in water or moistened with saliva, as this can cause serious infections. If your teen won’t be wearing contacts for a while, they must store them in solution and an airtight case.

The easiest way to avoid issues is by using daily contact lenses. These are great for teens because after each use, they are simply thrown away. There’s no worry about cleaning and storing the contacts.

Can My Teenager Have Colored Contacts?

colored contacts for teens with glasses and tweezers

If your teen wants to experiment with eye colors, contacts are a perfectly safe way to do this. Prescription lenses are available in a variety of colors. These are much safer than obtaining non-prescription lenses for such purposes.

What Happens if a Contact Is Torn or Lost?

Accidents will happen, and most contact wearers lose a lens at some point. If your teenager loses a contact, or even drops it on the ground, just replace it with a fresh one.

Contacts can tear or chip. This kind of damage results from rough cleaning or rubbing of the eyes while wearing contacts. If this happens, immediately discard the lens, as using it can scratch the cornea. To avoid torn contacts, make sure your teen treats them with care and follows all instructions from the eye doctor.

Are Contact Lenses Safe?

Contact lenses are very safe, provided your teen takes care of them as directed. They may be safer than glasses in some respects, particularly if your child participates in sports. Non-sports glasses can shatter from accidents, which can injure the eye. Contacts are more apt to stay in place during rigorous physical activity.

So Should My Teen Get Contact Lenses?

If your teen has glasses and wants to swap them for contacts, then it is a joint decision between both of you. Letting teens with glasses transition to contacts can display parents’ trust in their children. By actively caring for their contacts and eye health, teenagers can demonstrate their maturity. So if you feel your child is ready to do so, make an appointment to talk with the eye doctor about the best options available.

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