Health Check: Putting the focus on contact Lenses

June 7, 2016
The summer is a good time for parents to discuss the option of contact lenses with their kids

With the school year coming to a close, children will have a lot more free time on their hands. Many will enjoy time outside, but according to doctors at the Eye Care Center in Maple Grove, the summer is also a good time for parents to discuss the option of contact lenses with their kids.

"Oftentimes if we can start a child right when school's getting out, it's a smoother transition into contact lenses, then they're hitting the next school year ready to go," said Dr. Tina McCarty, an optometrist at the Eye Care Center.
Dr. McCarty says contact lenses can be a great alternative for children, regardless of age, who don't always want to wear glasses, especially if the child is responsible.

"Oftentimes if you can watch a child do good grooming habits, keep their household chores and their school work in order, then they're showing a responsibility to care for a contact lens too," she said.
After all, caring for contact lenses requires thorough hand washing and proper storage to prevent infection.
"Infection can lead to scarring, and scarring can lead to loss of vision, so it can be actually very dangerous," Dr. McCarty said. "However, the contact lenses have gotten to be a lot safer, especially with the advent of single-use contact lenses."

If a family decides that contacts are the way to go, a child will require a couple of visits to the eye doctor, typically starting with a comprehensive eye exam, then follow-up visits to be fit for lenses, and later to receive training on how to insert and remove them.

"The difficulty becomes in how motivated the child is, if a child is motivated, if anybody is motivated, we can do anything," Dr. McCarty said.
Meanwhile, optometrists say that contact lenses should never be the sole method of vision correction, and that children should still have glasses handy for when they're sick or when their eyes need a break from contacts.

Delane Cleveland

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