The CDC estimated in 2016 that around 30% of kids from ages 6-17 wear glasses or contact lenses. There are likely many more dealing with un-diagnosed vision issues. See prior blog posts to learn about timing for children’s eye examinations. If your child has vision issues that require correction (such as near or farsightedness, astigmatism, accommodative insufficiency, etc.) there are many options to address the issue.
Most of the time we think of kids as wearing glasses. This is a very straight-forward approach for most children, however there are pros and cons with any vision correction. Young children have difficulty caring for glasses, and often break or loose them…..then there’s some down time while they are being repaired or replaced. For this reason, we carry glasses lines that were designed to hold up for kids, and we offer a full warranty on all of our glasses. We also offer discounts for multiple pairs of glasses. Kids especially should have a back up pair, or a pair for school, and a pair for home….it’s also nice to have a couple of style options.
Some kids have difficulty adjusting to wearing glasses….it can be difficult adjusting to seeing the world differently, and having something on your face. It’s best to ease kids into wearing glasses….unless they seem comfortable with it right out of the gate.
We are often asked how old kids should be in order to wear contact lenses. There is no hard and fast age recommendation that we would apply to all kids. They should be motivated to do it personally, and should be capable of good hygiene……for some kids that might be 7 years old, for others it might be 19 years old. Contact lens technology has come a very long way, and we have so many safe and effective options for contact lens wear. If a child is motivated, we can find an option that suits their lifestyle and needs. When should kids consider contact lenses? When they decide they don’t like wearing glasses, when they get active in sports, or even if they just want the option to not wear glasses sometimes. Whenever we fit children with contact lenses, we teach them how to put them in, take them out, and care for them. We let them try the contacts for a couple of weeks, and make any adjustments if vision changes.
Some kids need glasses for the classroom environment, and may not need to wear glasses when pursuing sporting activities. Other kids benefit from improved vision, coordination, and response time by using their best correction. As mentioned above, contact lenses are a great option for sports because they eliminate the concern for having glasses on (getting broken and injuring the child, falling off, etc), and allow children the flexibility to wear other eye wear (ski goggles, sunglasses, etc). But what if a child isn’t ready for contact lenses? We carry a variety of sports specific glasses and goggles that were designed for high energy, movement, activity, and possible collision or impact. We know that these types of sports eye wear will minimize any injury from impact, will remain in place, and even look pretty cool.
For swimmers, we use prescription swim goggles.
For skiing and snowboarding, we use prescription goggle inserts.
For helmet sports (hockey, baseball, football, lacrosse, skateboarding) we have options with straps that go all the way around instead of hard temples (ear pieces)…..we even have options that switch (temples for some sports, straps for others in one pair of glasses)!
It’s important for children to see clearly to be able to learn and develop normally. At Mad River Eye Care, we do all that we can to ensure your child will see their best! Dr. Mitchell is great with kids, and is comfortable seeing kids of all ages!