Contact Lenses: Teens & Contacts
Oh, the pressure! Get great grades, excel in at least one sport, play a musical instrument, work part-time, hang out with friends -- and always, always look cool. If you're a teenager today, much is expected.
But what to do if suddenly you can't make out the writing on the blackboard, you can't see the ball until it's practically in your hands, or you have to squint to read the notes? What to do -- and still look cool?
Try contact lenses. Not that glasses can't be fashionable. But for today's active teenagers, contacts are a perfect fit. What your parents may not know is that today's lenses are more comfortable and easier to care for than those of a decade ago. Plus, there are more types of contacts, from disposables to toric (especially for people with astigmatism), from which to choose. In other words, there are almost certainly lenses to fit your individual needs.
When can you begin wearing contact lenses?
Even pre-teens can handle contacts. A three-year study* conducted by the Indiana University School of Optometry found children ages 11-13 able to handle contacts well and understand the use of their care systems to maintain clean, comfortable lenses. When to begin contact lens wear can only be determined in conjunction with your eye care practitioner.
What are the advantages of contact lenses over eyeglasses? Glasses can get in the way, especially in sports, cheerleading, dance or other exercise. Not contact lenses. Nor are there rims to interfere with your side, or peripheral, vision.
When you're active, contact lenses don't steam up or slide down your nose. Plus, they eliminate that annoying pressure behind your ears.
"Will Young Children Comply and Follow Instructions to Successfully Wear Soft Contact Lenses?"
by P.S. Soni, D.G. Horner, L. Jimenenz, J. Ross, J. Rounds; CLAO Journal, April 1995.)
Fiction or fact? Truths about contact lenses
FICTION: Teen eyes are not "mature enough" for contacts.
FACT: Most eye care professionals agree that by age 13, even as early as age 11, most eyes are developed enough for contact lenses. An eye exam will confirm whether contacts can be worn or not.
FICTION: Contacts fall out a lot.
FACT: They fell out more often when the only ones available were hard lenses. Soft lenses conform to the shape of the eye, are larger in diameter and are tucked under the eyelids, so they usually don't move out of place or fall out. Plus, they're usually more stable than glasses, especially for sports.
FICTION: Contact lenses are expensive.
FACT: Not! The price of contact lenses is comparable to that of an average pair of eyeglasses.
FICTION: Contact lenses are hard to care for.
FACT: Not at all. Today's lens care systems are easy and quick to use. Contacts can be ready to wear in just five minutes.
FICTION: Contact lenses are not safe to wear for sports.
FACT: Except for water sports, contacts are very safe. They can't be broken or knocked off the face and they provide unobstructed peripheral vision.
Ask your parents to make an appointment to assess your ability to wear contacts. If he or she gives thumbs-up, then try a pair. Wearing lenses is the best way to find out if you and contact lenses were made for each other.