When children begin begging to replace their glasses with contact lenses, parents often find themselves in a quandary. While desiring to please their children, they want to make sure that their kids are mature enough to manage contact lenses. Although parents would prefer that ophthalmologists give them a specific age at which all children can handle the responsibility of inserting, cleaning, and caring for contact lenses, most eye doctors are reluctant to do so. Because children often develop dexterity at vastly differing rates, the average age range for switching from eye glasses to contact lenses is between the age of ten and twelve.

Parents should certainly have some serious discussions with their child before deciding that he or she is ready to accept the responsibility of contact lenses. The following points should be considered:

Reasons for Trying Contact Lenses

• The child is embarrassed by his or her appearance when wearing glasses.
• The child is involved in physical activities or sporting events in which glasses might be easily broken.
• The contact lenses will provide the child with better vision correction.

Reasons for Waiting to Try Contact Lenses

• The child is unable to manipulate the lenses easily.
• The child has difficulty touching his or her eyes.
• The child has not developed good habits concerning hygiene.
• The child has trouble keeping up with his belongings.

Discussing these issues can clarify whether a child has the ability to successfully switch from glasses to contact lenses. While contact lenses resolve many problems, they can also result in serious eye infections if a child does not care for them properly. Complications are always possible, so the change from glasses to contacts should be monitored closely, especially with younger children. Some doctors recommend that younger children only wear contact lenses for activities where they are clearly more beneficial than glasses. For example, they might wear contacts to a party or when they participate in athletic events of various types.

Younger children often do not have the maturity to remember and follow directions. Some are also squeamish about touching their eyes and experience problems inserting and removing their new contacts. With some good instruction from their eye care professional and plenty of practice, most children can overcome these fears within the first two weeks. Some, however, have a more difficult time. Parents also need to be aware that germs are easily transferred from the hands to the eyes so cleanliness is particularly important.

The final factor that should be considered before a child switches from glasses to contact lenses is the higher cost involved. Depending on whether a child is fitted with an extended wear or disposable contact lenses, the initial cost can be greater than that of glasses because it involves several fittings and check-up appointments. If a child loses one or both lenses, the replacement cost should be somewhat less than the original purchase price.

The age at which a child switches from contact lenses to glasses is not set in stone. The most important consideration is protecting the health of a child’s eyes for a lifetime.

Author Bio: Drake MacDonald is a freelance writer. He is currently a resident writer for Online Schools which researches areas of higher learning, how to pick an online school and education. In his spare time, he enjoys staying fit, watching football, and spending time in the outdoors.