25 Jul Are Contact Lenses for Kids Really Safe?
We’ll help you choose the best solution to children’s nearsightedness—there are two main options!
We know you’re probably reading this article because your child has been diagnosed with myopia or nearsightedness, and making him go through all the trouble of wearing corrective glasses is just out of the question. So now it’s a question of whether you must get him regular contact lenses—worn during his waking hours—or if you must let him try orthokeratology (VIT), which are also contact lenses for kids but worn in his sleep.
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Form And Usability
Let’s start off with the similarity: their form. Kids’ contact lens comes in the form of a small transparent film that works like a mini eye glass lens except it’s soft and flexible. Contacts for kids are more convenient to use than eyeglasses since they are designed to be in direct contact with eyes and move with them. Vision is not obstructed by a frame, and your child won’t have to worry about wiping fog or dirt off the contact lenses.
Regular contact lenses for children are to be worn throughout the day while in school, and it’s supposed to be taken off and soaked in a solution after at least 8-12hrs or before bedtime. Without it, your child won’t be able to see clearly, so if he has taken off his contact lenses, he may need to wear glasses at home to read or do homework.
On the other hand, orthokeratology , also known as Vision Improvement Therapy (VIT), is a non-surgical, reversible procedure that involves the use of a specially designed, rigid, transparent film just like your regular contact lens. And like the latter, VIT lenses—like the ones by Invisalens—are designed to be placed directly on the surface of the eye. However, they are meant to be worn at night while your child sleeps and taken off in the morning. The effect is it corrects myopia for a day or two. This basically gives your child normal vision for a day without having to wear anything on or around the eyes throughout the day.
How It Works
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, contact lenses can correct various vision problems that include “nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, and presbyopia (or the inability to focus on near objects).” They aid the eyes in focusing the light directly into the retina.
The effect will be “seen” the next day, although it is temporary and wears off after a few days when your child stops wearing them. However, numerous research suggests that continuous use can have significant effects in reducing the progression of myopia especially in children and teens.
Contact Lens Safety
Since contact lenses are supposed to be worn throughout the day, kids are recommended to bring solutions like lubricating eye drops to avoid drying the eyes through out the day. Then at night, a solution is also used to clean and disinfect the contact lenses. You must soak the contact lenses in this solution overnight to get them clean and ready for your child to use again the following day.
Contact lenses are also known to “peel off” of the eyes or get mispositioned, which could be a problem among kids who tend to scratch or rub their eyes often.
Like regular contact lens safety, VIT lenses are supposed to be used with a cleaning kit that includes a cleaning solution, a soaking/rinsing solution, clean storage, and a rewetting solution while the lenses are in the eyes.
Dr. Page’s own vision struggles helped propel him into the optometry field. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of South Dakota and a Doctor of Optometry from the New England College of Optometry in Boston, he launched his career in Phoenix.