Thursday, September 16, 2010

Three Things You Should Know About Young Children and Contacts

My four-year old got contact lenses today. Yes, you read that correctly. I hope to tell you more about that tomorrow (and share pictures!) In the meantime, here are three things you may or may not know about contact lenses, particularly with respect to children:

  1. Babies can wear contacts. Our pediatric ophthalmologist's youngest contact lens-wearing patient is 2 weeks old... or, at least, WAS 2 weeks old when he first got lenses. Some doctors, in fact, prefer contacts over glasses for their very youngest patients. In our case, the doctor recommended that our daughter try contacts somewhere between 4 and 6 years of age. She'll be 5 in December.
  2. Contact lenses provide superior peripheral vision. This becomes more and more important as children take on increasingly difficult gross motor challenges. In our little girl's case, we realized that she was struggling to make more progress in physical therapy... and her vision was the main culprit. This was a huge motivating factor for me in saying, "Okay, let's give lenses a shot."
  3. Contact lenses don't "minimize" things in the visual field the way glasses do. You may have to be very near-sighted to know this but, if you are, you know what I'm saying-- with glasses on, small print becomes even smaller. Part of how glasses correct vision is to "sharpen" the image. This results in the shrinking of whatever you're looking at. For an extremely near-sighted child, this can make reading, coloring, and doing puzzles exceedingly difficult. Contacts do not have the same effect. The result? Our daughter doesn't try to look over or under her glasses with her face pressed on the page...

So there it is... just a few things I've learned about young children and contact lenses. Anything else you would like to know? Would you ever consider contacts for your child?

(Because of how late this post is going up- so sorry!- I've elected not to bother with a linky this week. Really, no one links up most weeks anyhow. :) Nevertheless, it will be back next week!)

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