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Are Contact Lenses Safe For Young Children?

Here’s a question we often get at our practice: ‘Is my child too young for contact lenses?’ This is an important question, and the answer may surprise you. 

For children with myopia (nearsightedness), contact lenses can be a convenient method of vision correction. It allows kids to go about their day without having to worry about breaking or misplacing their glasses, and enables them to freely participate in sports and other physical activities. 

Some children and young teens may ask their parents for contact lenses because they feel self-conscious wearing glasses. Contact lenses may even provide children with the confidence boost they need to come out of their shell. Moreover, these days, it is very popular for children to wear single-use one-day disposable soft contacts, since there is no cleaning or maintenance involved. 

Some parents may deny their child’s request for contacts due to concerns about eye health and safety. There’s no reason to worry: contact lenses are just as safe for children as they are for anyone else. 

At Space Center Eye Associates, we provide children, teens, and patients of all ages with a wide variety of contact lenses. If you’re concerned about the safety of contacts for your child, we’ll be happy to explain and explore ways to ensure maximum safety, optimal eye health and comfort. To learn more or to schedule a pediatric eye exam for contact lenses, contact us today. 

What Are the Risks of Having My Child Wear Contact Lenses?

A study published in the January 2021 issue of The Journal of Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics found that kids aren’t at a higher risk of experiencing contact lens complications. 

The study followed nearly 1000 children aged 8-16 over the course of 1.5-3 years to determine how contact lenses affected their eye health. 

The results indicate that age doesn’t have an effect on contact lens safety. In fact, the researchers found that the risk of developing infections or other adverse reactions was less than 1% per year of wear — which is comparable to contact lens wearers of other ages.

But before you decide that contact lenses are right for your child, you may want to consider whether your child is ready to wear them. During his or her eye doctor’s appointment, the optometrist may ask about your child’s level of maturity, responsibility, and personal hygiene. Since many children are highly motivated to wear contacts, they tend to display real maturity in caring for their lenses. That said, in the initial stages, parents may need to play an active role, as their child gets used to inserting and removing the new contact lenses.  

It’s important to note that just as with any other medical device, contact lenses are not risk-free. Anyone who wears contact lenses has a chance of developing eye infections or other complications with contact lenses. However, when worn and cared for according to your eye doctor’s instructions, contact lenses are low-risk and perfectly safe for children and teenagers.

So, go ahead and bring your child in for a contact lens consultation! We’ll help determine if your child is ready for contacts and answer any questions you or your child may have. To schedule your child’s contact lens fitting or eye exam, contact Space Center Eye Associates in Houston today.  

Ask Our Houston Eye Doctors About Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses are a specialized contact lenses that make contact lens use possible for many people for the first time – and they have advantages for normal contact lens wearers as well.

A scleral lens is a larger lens that rests on the sclera or white of the eye, rather than the colored portion (or iris). The lens has many advantages which can make contact lens wear an option for those who have previously been told otherwise.

The lens, which covers a larger area than a normal contact lens, creates a pocket filled with artificial tears, fitting securely around the eye. Due to their size, scleral lenses provide sharper vision, greater durability, easier handling and a lower risk for complications.

We have a unique library of scleral contact lens solutions for you.

Are you one of the 5 patient types that would likely benefit from a scleral lens?

Candidates Include Patients with:

  1. Allergies
  2. High or complicated prescriptions that have been told they can’t wear contact lenses.
  3. Unsuccessful history with other lenses either due to poor comfort or poor vision.
  4. Keratoconus or any type of corneal degeneration or dystrophy, transplants, scarring or trauma or post-LASIK complications.
  5. Dry eyes or high sensitivity to light or Steve Johnson Syndrome.

What are the 5 main benefits of a scleral lens vs. a regular lens?

  1. Easier to insert and remove.
  2. Improved, consistent quality of vision all day long.
  3. Better comfort. Other lenses may dry out and get uncomfortable.
  4. Longer lasting. With proper maintenance, they can last over a year.

What are three key differences in the scleral lens technology?

  1. The lens doesn’t touch the cornea but rests on the sclera or the white part of the eye to increase comfort.
  2. Microscopic adjustments to the lenses can be made with new advanced manufacturing technology to customize the fit of each lens to each patient’s unique needs.
  3. Can add highly customized, unique prescriptions onto each lens to provide even better vision.

Special Instances That Can Benefit from Scleral Lenses


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Legal Blindness:
It is not uncommon for someone who is legally blind from a corneal irregularity to regain great vision. This lens design provides a protective cushion of saline that can reduce pain and photosensitivity caused by other lens designs.
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Sports:
Scleral lenses are great for athletes who require excellent acuity and a stable lens fit while they are physically active.

They are also useful in situations where other contact lens types are not effective or appropriate, including dusty environments and contact sports.

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Protective & Therapeutic:
Scleral lenses can provide hydration to the cornea in severe cases of dry eye and ocular pemphigoid.
They can also help in keeping the eye hydrated in conditions where the eyelids do not close properly such as facial nerve palsy, trauma, or ptosis.

Custom Fit
We customize the lenses to the exact specifications of each individual wearer.

The entire process may take several visits in order to optimize the design and ensure the process of application and removal is comfortable and efficient. For these reasons professional fees associated with fitting sclera lenses and lens replacement costs are higher than other contact lenses. We are happy to discuss your specific costs based on your individual needs.

Accepting New Patients!

Dr. Hannah Burfield recently joined Space Center Eye Associates, with clinical experience in pre/post operative surgical care, pediatrics, low vision, and primary eye care. She has extensive training in managing conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, and more.  Learn more about Dr. Burfield and request an appointment with her today!

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