Children and contact lenses
As many of the social aspects are changing, even the world of contact lenses is becoming increasingly present in the lives of children and adolescents. To understand the motivations and the portability of contact lenses for young people, there have been different studies in this area, concerning not only the medical aspect but also the social one that investigate the reasons and their portability to give useful advice to families when it comes to choices, but above all to opticians indicating what are the precautions to be used towards the young patients and their families.
The social aspect
For many children the moment of eye examination comes earlier nowadays and if the result suggests buying lenses, the first thought for a child is glasses...but what do they think? Will I be a Brainy such as The Smurfs character? Maybe we do not think often about it, but also for young people the art of appearance is becoming important because of the society we live in today: this is why young people take more care of their look. The glasses have always been a reason to mock at someone unfortunately, but much more an obstacle for those who practice sport. Here then is that the contact lenses turn out to be a practical, simple, and comfortable solution and from this point of view it has been shown that improve the quality of children’s lives.
The "Contact lens spettrum / Ago09" wrote an article for children under 13 years to look for answers on the question "should they wear contact lenses or not"? To this aim, studies have used a sample of patients divided by age group and they found the same solution to young people under 12 years old and over 13 years old.
Do contact lenses significantly improve in the same way the quality of life of children and adolescents?
Pediatric studies have led to argue that both subjects, children and adolescents who have worn contact lenses, declare an increase in quality of life, the pleasure of appearing and participation in sport compared to wear glasses.
Is it more difficult for children to adapt to contact lenses than adolescents?
Patients divided into two age groups 8-12 years and 13-17 years responded to adaptation in the same way. It should be noted that younger children only needed a few minutes more than the teenagers in the explanation of the steps required to wear contact lenses.
Do contact lenses help the progressive remodeling of myopia in children?
You can then deduce that research has led to positive results, indicating children as well as adolescents, suitable patients to wear contact lenses.
Choice and tips
The contact lenses tested during the studies are made of Silicon Hydrogel, a material that allows the presence of a bigger quantity of water and so a greater comfort during the day, due to the gradual release of the water that the lens itself contain. This choice was made because these lenses have been proven to be more suitable for a young and dynamic audience.
Since studies have led to admit that children and teens can wear contact lenses, it is important for parents to know how to choose the most suitable lenses but mainly to accompany their children to the proper use and care. In fact it is recommended that parents had experience in the field of contact lenses because their experience can be an integral part of the support/control: to sum up, if a parent already knows the steps for a correct use of contact lenses, he will be more careful and will know better how to pass his experience on his sons. What is certain is that children can surely learn how to clean and disinfect contact lenses, but like everything you learn as a child, only with time he will able to do so systematically, independently and with the right care.
Daily lenses in this case can be the answer to the need of little attention and are more suitable for children as they throw them once used, without requiring the maintenance needed for weekly or monthly lenses.
As regards the economic aspect, definitely the purchase of a pair of glasses for a child is more economical as it can last an average of three years than a supply of contact lenses which counts with accessories as well. Finally, finding the right lenses for children will certainly take more time and more than one visit because they could move during the measurement and therefore, the ophthalmologist will need more phases to confirm the diagnosis.
In general we can affirm that contact lenses:
contribute to better the quality of life in children and adolescents
help teenagers meet the requirements of aesthetics
fully meet all the requirements for activities and sports to which more and more often children and adolescents participate
require attention and patience during the choice especially by the eye specialist but also require knowledge of the field by parents
have higher costs
Ophthalmologists who choose to start operating even in the smallest sector should prepare themselves adequately. The children are patients like everyone else, with the advantage of learning quickly and willing to do so. Being children, however, it is even more important to ensure that patients feel secure and at ease. The language and the context must be within their reach, simple, clear, calm. Each step should be well explained and followed by a practical part punctuated by small steps.
It is recommended to elaborate suitable texts both for the youngest (eg figures or comics) but also for their families where to include any information which might explain especially the right lens care and possible contraindications in addition to what to do in case of need. It is important to know what are the most common diseases in the age group considered and their habits that differ from adults such as the repetitive gesture of rubbing the eyes.
In the indications for parents it should be specified the use, effects and costs of contact lenses. You also need to have the support of both parents to start a clear and confident relationship with them. The best advice is to develop a document that encompasses all the necessary information about treatment, the pros and cons, the possible benefits and possible effects. You may include the duties of proper maintenance of the diversified lenses for different possibilities of lenses such as daily or monthly lenses. Illustrate well the implementation stages and removal. Do not forget to always give the patient right time to get used to contact lenses in order to become autonomous in the optic shop at first and then at home. Also parents should be given the proper time to read the disclosure and calmly decide before their children start the treatment.
If such an optic shop you decide to embrace this segment of the market and therefore also devote part of your business to the children world, publicize the offer because there are not many people who have embarked on this type of market and the young audience might be very interested in it.