The Right Age for Contacts

Parents spend many years looking forward to a time when their children will be more independent. It’s difficult to care for one or more little people and still care for yourself! When children start growing into teenagers and young adults, parents often agonize over when their children are ready for these newer and greater responsibilities. One question we are often asked is, “What is the right age for contacts?”

As you can imagine, there is no definitive answer. It depends on the child. Physically, even young children are able to wear contacts, but are not ready to handle the responsibility of proper eye care. Some babies can wear contact lenses from birth as part of a treatment plan or vision correction process. Many elementary and middle school children have to continue developing to understand and practice proper procedures, but a surprising number can perform the tasks without incident.

Can Children Learn to Use Contact Lenses?

When studied, 90 percent of children in a group of eight to 11 year olds were able to use daily disposable contact lenses with little to no trouble.* Even though many parents won’t consider contact lenses for their children until they are teenagers, clearly younger children can learn proper hygiene and useage of contact lenses.

If you are considering contact lenses for your child, talk to Dr. Steven St. Marie about how they handle other responsibilities. Does he or she need regular reminders to wash their hands, close doors or containers, or to provide other kinds of self-care? If yes, your child may need some more time before learning how to use contact lenses. If you feel your child is mature enough to complete everyday self-care tasks, remembers to wash their hands, and will practice putting lenses in and taking them out carefully, they may be ready to try.

Why Should Children Try Contact Lenses?

On average, many eye care professionals begin to encourage contact lens wear between the ages of 11 and 14. Not everyone enjoys wearing contacts, but it’s a good idea to let children try. By giving them an opportunity to try contacts early, they are more likely to build the skills needed to place and remove contacts with ease. Adults who try contact lenses later in life are still capable of learning, but often take extra time and don’t enjoy the novelty of contact lenses like younger patients do.

Still, some patients always prefer to wear glasses no matter their age, and that’s okay! Having options is great, so we are more than happy to help your child learn about wearing contact lenses. If you would like to speak with someone about getting contact lenses for your child, contact us for a consultation. We can provide information on getting an exam, lens fitting, and follow-up to be sure you and your child are happy with the new eyewear.

If you would like to learn more, please call us at (802)-524-9561 to schedule an appointment!

*”Daily disposable contact lens wear in myopic children.” Optometry and Vision Science. Vol. 81, No. 4 (April 2004); pp. 255-259.

We want to express our appreciation to all of you for your patience with us during this crazy time.  We have remained open to see urgent and emergent patients and are slowly beginning to increase the number of patients we see per week.  We have staggered schedules to only have one doctor and their required support staff in the office.  We have staggered patient times such that only one patient is seen at a time.  As such, we must still prioritize those with the greatest need for our services since we are seeing only a fraction of our customary number of patients.  Please understand that you are all very important to us and we look forward to seeing you as soon as practically possible.
We are still offering telemedicine for urgent needs that can be managed outside of the office.

If you come into our office for an appointment, this is what you can expect…
You will receive a phone call from us before the day of your appointment to go over your recent history and other pertinent information to facilitate your time with the doctor during the exam.  If we are unable to have this conversation, your appointment will need to be rescheduled.

Please park near the front entrance (west facing) when you arrive and call our number (524-9561) to announce your arrival.  Our doors are locked to limit the number of patients in the office at any one time.  One of our staff members will review a COVID risk questionnaire with you and take your temperature prior to your entering our office.  We require that you wear a clean mask to your appointment. If you require support or assistance or are under the age of 18, you may have one person accompany you (provided they pass the COVID questionnaire as well).  In an effort to reduce the number of potential contamination points, please leave any unnecessary items in your vehicle (hats, cell phones, etc.).  Nonessential visitors that accompany patients will be required to stay in their vehicle.

Our frame gallery is open on an appointment basis only.  The same precautions shall apply.  All frames are sterilized following handling.

Patients, parents and essential care providers with a temperature of 100.4 or higher or answer yes to any of the COVID-19 questions will not be allowed entry into the office.  If you do not have a mask, one will be provided for you.

Everyone’s health and wellness are our number one priority.  We are following the CDC and the AOA’s recommendations regarding COVID-19.  As guidelines change in the upcoming months, we will adapt accordingly.

Thank you very much for entrusting us with your care during this unprecedented time.