FDA warns parents about getting their kids contact lenses


Now that the kids are back in school, they may be asking their moms and dads to make a switch - a switch from glasses to contacts, that is.  But before parents agree, the Food and Drug Administration has a warning.  Kids and contact lenses are now always the best fit.

Dr. Elias Traboulsi, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Cleveland Clinic, says the FDA wants parents to know that age is not the only factor to consider.

"So, yes, indeed it is a very important factor, an essential factor, but not the only one. So, it's not just my child wants contact lenses and they are responsible equals he gets them. There should be more thought into it and more caution about it," explained Traboulsi.

FDA researchers cite a 2010 study in the journal Pediatrics. It looked at the number of children taken to the emergency room each year for complications related to medical devices.

It found about 25% of the injuries were related to contact lenses. The most typical problems are infections and eye abrasions, which are often caused by a lack of hygiene.  That's why the FDA is warning parents who are considering contacts
for their children to gauge their child's maturity level and whether they can handle the daily responsibility.

Traboulsi says this is not always easy because every child is different.

"Individualize the case," he advised. "Of course, including responsibility and taking care of the contact lenses and so on, but also gauge in the office how badly the child wants the contact lenses or how necessary it is to wear the contact lens."

You can read more on the FDA's consumer update on kids and contact lenses, including safe wearing instructions and how to avoid a trip to the ER, at www.FDA.gov.