A lot can happen in a day, especially in the busy life of a child or teenager. When it comes to vision health for young eyes, a daily contact lens might just be the perfect fit for independence and versatility with benefits that go beyond what meets the eye.
“For active children and teens, contacts are less cumbersome than glasses,” said Elliot Knobovitch, Director of Marketing for CooperVision, adding that contact lenses provide better peripheral vision than glasses. “During contact sports there is no worry about breaking glasses or the frame being pushed very uncomfortably into the nose, cheek or temple.”
Millicent Knight, O.D., Head of Professional Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in North America points to a study performed by the American Optometric Association (AOA) where more than half of optometrists surveyed said they feel it is appropriate to introduce a child to soft contact lenses between the ages of 10 to 12.
“Eye Care Professionals (ECPs) will typically evaluate a child’s maturity, interest and motivation
to wear contact lenses, and level of parental support in deciding whether a child is ready for contact lenses,” Knight said. Knobovitch agrees that technology and practicality is key to making contact lenses accessible to a youth demographic.
“Perhaps most importantly, there is a significant psychological benefit to wearing contact lenses particularly for children and teens that have relatively high prescriptions,” Knobovitch said. “They become less self-conscious and more confident.”
The importance of self-confidence cannot be underestimated in the youth market, because as all ECPs know – if the patient isn’t comfortable in their vision correction, be it eyewear or contact lenses, they won’t wear them – and that will be to their own detriment.
“A growing body of research in children’s vision correction confirms that contact lenses provide collateral benefits to children beyond simply correcting their vision, including significantly improving how they feel about their physical appearance, athletic ability and social acceptance compared with kids who wear glasses,” said Knight. “For children who initially dislike wearing glasses, contact lenses also make them more confident about their academic performance.”
The youth market is well serviced by contact lens manufacturers who understand their customer’s needs. The creation of daily disposable contacts has made the ease and comfort of these products perfect for younger patients and easier for ECPs to prescribe.
Knobovich explains that replacing contacts daily significantly reduces protein and lipid deposits as well as bacterial biofilms from forming on the lenses.
“Replacing them each day eliminates the need to clean and disinfect the lenses and reduces parents’ concerns regarding their children’s ability to properly care for their lenses,” he said.
CooperVision has two options for 1-day lenses: Proclear 1 Day and BioMedics 1 Day.
“Proclear material is very resistant to both deposits and dehydration. This results in a comfortable wearing experience throughout the day,” Knobovitch said.
“BioMedics 1 Day is an easy to handle lens that is an option for value conscious parents who may be concerned about how well their children will adapt to contacts.
BioMedics 1 Day is also available in a toric design that expands the one- day option to children and teens who have a small to moderate degree of astigmatism.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care trongly recommends contact lenses that offer the added benefit of ultraviolet protection.
“Researchers estimate that a significant amount of lifetime exposure to UV rays occurs by age 18 and that children’s annual dose of radiation may be up to three times that of adults,” Knight said. “Not all contact lenses offer UV protection. ACUVUE is the only major brand which blocks more than 98 per cent of UVB and 85 per cent of UVA rays as standard across its entire range of products.”
With so much to see and do, contact lenses offer today’s youth versatility and convenience with a comfort and ease that puts eye health first, no matter what adventure lies ahead. It’s an alternative to eyewear that lets kids be kids, on their own terms.