One in every four students will need some kind of vision correction. However, teens may feel self-conscious wearing glasses to school. Even if they have worn glasses for years, the teen years can be tough on the self-esteem and wearing glasses may increase this anxiety and make them feel less accepted. For this reason, contact lenses are a popular choice for teenagers.
How old do you need to be to wear contacts?
There is no age limit, but we typically recommend around 11 -14 years of age. The real issue is that of responsibility. Is your teenager ready to handle and care for for their contacts properly?
In truth, teenagers will often do a better job of cleaning their contacts than adults who have worm them for many years.
How much care do contacts require?
The answer depends on the lenses. Many can be easily cleaned with a multi-purpose solution and stored overnight in a contacts case. Others are single use and should be discarded after a day of wear.
Do contacts require a prescription?
Yes. The Food and Drug Administration considers contact lenses a medical device. In order to properly correct vision, a contact must fit properly on the eye. Lack of proper fit can lead to serious eye issues. As part of the fitting process, your eye doctor will measure your eye to insure that you get the proper size, shape, and power to correct your vision issue.
Are contacts more expensive?
The cost of contact lenses varies depending on brand and prescription. Your eye doctor can go over your options and recommend the best option for you.
Keep in mind that lenses are only part of the total cost. Cleaning solution and storage cases are an ongoing expense with contact lenses. Plus, it is always a good idea to have a backup pair of glasses.
What if a lens is lost or torn?
Be sure to discuss lenses replacement with your eye doctor. If your teen is going to wear disposable lenses than loss or damage is less of a concern. Simply insure that you have a supply of lenses on hand.
Are contact lenses safe?
Contact lenses are safe if worn properly. Your teen should never swap lenses with a friend or wear them for longer than prescribed. Doing so can introduce foreign bacteria to the eye and cause eye strain or damage.
What are the different types of contact lenses?
Contact lenses can be grouped together based on several characteristics:
- Lens material — Soft, gas permeable (GP) or hybrid
- Oxygen permeability — “Silicone hydrogel” lenses offer high levels of oxygen to your cornea, and are what most newer lenses are made from. “Hydrogel” lenses are mostly older technology and generally offer lower levels of oxygen.
- Wear schedule — That is, whether you take them out before sleep. Certain lenses are FDA approved for extended (overnight) wear; daily wear lenses should be removed before sleeping or napping.
- Replacement schedule, or how often you discard them and begin wearing a fresh pair. Daily disposable lenses are discarded every day and require no care, making them a hassle-free option for teens. Monthly and two-week replacement schedules are most popular.
How do I decide on the right lenses?
Your eye doctor can help you decide which combination of features is right for your teen. In addition to your teen’s preferences, the doctor will evaluate his or her eye structure, tears, and visual acuity to determine what lenses will be healthy and comfortable.