The right age for a child to wear contact lenses

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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Some studies are showing kids as young as 10 can be candidates for contact lenses. But parents may not be sure when to allow their child to have them. Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Ophthalmologist Dr. Paul Rychwalski says age is not the only factor parents should consider because contact lenses are more involved than a pair of glasses.

"There is some risk associated with contact lenses that we don't see in glasses because the glasses sit on your nose and the contact lenses are on the eye itself," he said.

Rychwalski says contact lenses are medical devices that sit on the cornea, which needs to breathe. The cornea gets oxygen and nutrients from the air and the tear
film, so if the contact lenses aren't cleaned properly, an infection could develop. That's why Rychwalski says any kid who's considering contacts must be mature and responsible enough to care for their contacts on a nightly basis.

Rychwalski says this can be age and sometimes gender dependent, so it's important everyone is in on the plan.

"Often the parents can be the ones kind of pushing towards contact lenses for various reasons. It's very important the child is on-board, certainly, or that the teenager is on-board with the plan because it affects, it affects their eyes," he said.

Rychwalski says after the initial fitting and training a follow-up visit will be scheduled two weeks later, then there are additional follow-ups about every 6 months.  

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