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Teenagers and contact lenses

Posted on 03 July 2014

If you are a teenager or you have a teenager who is pushing for contact lenses, here's everything you (or they) need to know.

Am I old enough?
Yes! In fact there is no particular physiological age when it is suddenly "safe" to wear contact lenses.  However as regards to having the necessary maturity to care for lenses means that optometrists are generally comfortable prescribing contact lenses no earlier than around 11 years of age. 
Teenagers-contact lenses

Why should I?
Say goodbye to glasses! You look good and your self-esteem will thank you. Your life can be unpredictable, active and energetic without your vision problems getting in the way. Want to go swimming? No worries! Want to play sport? Do it! Staying over at a friend's? Too easy! The real benefit of contact lenses is that they provide you with a particular lifestyle: a lifestyle that nurtures freedom and flexibility. 

Who gives me a prescription?
There are three key aspects to fitting contact lenses correctly for your eyes and your eye care practitioner will need to determine these things:
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Power
Once these measurements are determined, you will be given your personal prescription which will enable you to source contact lenses. 

Do I need to care for them?

Absolutely, yes! You will probably find that once you are wearing contact lenses, taking care of them will become second nature. They represent clear vision after all, so it is likely you won't take them for granted.
Nevertheless, this aspect of contact lenses is crucial to the safety of your eyes. Infection and disease can easily spread if the contact lenses are not kept clean. Follow advice from your eye care practitioner, but the summary cleaning and care steps usually involve the following:
  • Wash hands
  • Remove lens and clean with solution
  • Rub the lens in palm to remove excess grime (unless using 'no rub' solutions)
  • Rinse lens
  • Place lens in clean lens case
Some people find that teenagers are better suited to wearing daily disposable contact lenses since the responsibility of the cleaning and care regime is removed. These are simply thrown away each day and a new one replaces it in the morning. Speak to your eye care practitioner about the best option for contact lens beginners. 

Aren't they easy to lose?
Yes, contact lenses are tiny and they seem fragile, but again, the habit of taking care of them will happen quite naturally. If you do lose a contact, they are easily replaced. You may need to see your eye-care practitioner again, but if you opt to wear disposable contacts, then it's as easy as putting in another one. 

What is my responsibility?
Even if you opt for daily disposable contact lenses to limit the need for a cleaning and care regime, becoming a contact lens wearer does come with responsibility. Your eyesight is important. Your eyes are important. Taking care of them is your responsibility. Hygiene is of utmost importance.
  • Handle carefully
  • Always wash hands
  • Never share contacts
  • Always wash hands
That's right! 'Always wash your hands' is there twice to emphasise its importance. Bacteria and germs easily transfer from your hands to the lens and then to the eye. You can end up with all sorts of nasty infections, inflammations or eye damage if not hygienic in your approach to contact lenses. 

Enjoy the freedom
Bottom line, contact lenses are a great option for teenagers. Most likely living active and energetic lives, the flexibility of lenses would be most appreciated by teens. Speak to your eye care practitioner today.