WHY FIT A CHILD WITH CONTACT LENSES?
Contact Lenses can provide many important benefits to children:
- Halt nearsightedness (myopia). Orthokeratology can slow down the progression of nearsightedness/myopia, preserving your child’s vision and eye health.
- Self-Image: Children who are free of glasses become less shy and more outgoing.
- Consistency of Vision: Contact lenses insure your child always has the benefit of good vision. Children often remove their glasses because they are teased.
- Sharper Vision: If your child’s prescription lenses are very thick, contacts will provide clearer, more accurate vision.
- Safety: Contact lenses allow a child to play sports unhampered by glasses. Devastating eye injuries have occurred when glasses are broken during play.
WHY DO DRS. CAUCHI AND DR. PETERS AVOID FITTING NEARSIGHTED CHILDREN WITH STANDARD SOFT CONTACT LENSES?
Standard soft contact lenses contribute to worsening nearsightedness. We educate all our myopic patients under the age of 25 to read without their glasses. This puts less strain on their eyes. Visual strain appears to cause nearsightedness to increase at a rapid rate. However, if a child is wearing standard soft contact lenses, it is impossible to remove these lenses when they wish to read. They would be putting them on and off all day. They simply wouldn’t do that, instead they would read with the lenses and find their eyes getting more and more nearsighted as the years go on. Of course, this generates lots of contact sales because they need to buy contacts with a new prescription, but increasing myopia is not healthy for your child’s eyes.
Drs. Cauchi and Peters do fit a soft myopia-control contact lens. It is a specially designed lens that can help slow the eyes from changing. For more information, go to Myopia Control.
WHY IS INCREASING MYOPIA HARMFUL?
Increasing nearsightedness means your child’s eye is growing longer. The retina is being stretched. This increases the risk of a detached retina or glaucoma. This is a serious risk as a detached retina can lead to blindness if not treated quickly.
HOW CAN WE STOP OUR NEARSIGHTED CHILD’S EYES FROM GETTING WORSE?
OrthoKeratology. This is also sometimes called CRT, Corneal Refractive Therapy, Corneal Reshaping, Corneal Molding, etc. We recommend this procedure to any child who demonstrates a consistent worsening of their eyes over a two year period. We also recommend this procedure immediately if a child becomes nearsighted and their parents are very nearsighted. We want to stop the change ASAP. Seem too good to be true? Click here to go to a detailed explanation of this procedure.
WHAT IF MY CHILD IS FARSIGHTED?
Soft contact lenses for farsighted children do not worsen their eyes. It is a wonderful option for them because their glasses are usually thick and make their eyes look gigantic.
CAN CHILDREN WEAR CONTACT LENSES?
Children tend to be the best contact lens patients, because they are so highly motivated to not wear glasses. They learn quickly and treat their lenses responsibly. That is probably because we spend so much time educating them on the care of the lenses, their responsibilities and the health of their eyes. Often, after receiving their lenses, they show an increase in maturity and cleanliness. We make sure they understand that they are getting a real gift from their parents and it is their job to show their parents that they are grown up enough to wear them.
HOW YOUNG CAN WE BEGIN?
It depends on the child and the situation. If a baby needs lenses because of congenital cataracts, we will fit them. However, the parents will be caring for the lenses. By the age of five a child has enough dexterity and understanding to learn to insert, remove and care for lenses on their own. If the child does not appear tidy or is less mature, we may delay the fitting until they “clean up their act”. This usually encourages them to change their hygiene habits at home. Children are highly motivated to wear contacts.