Most children by the age of 12 become concerned with their looks. Most parents breathe a little sigh of relief that they do. As we all know, this relief may also soon be followed with the horror of what teenagers equate with good appearance. The story is ancient and never changes but somehow the image they aspire to always manages to shock the previous generation. Who would have thought vampires? Once they become teens this concern is in full effect. Everything from their clothes, their hair, their shoes and their skin is of the ultimate concern. Eyeglasses that once were OK to wear, may now make your teen unhappy and self conscious. They may now be interested in a new look that wearing contact lenses may provide, while also boosting the oh so fragile self esteem of the typical middle school teenager.
With teens, contact lenses must be considered carefully. If your teen only needs glasses for reading, contact lenses may not be a great option. Even though they feel like they are wearing their glasses a lot at school, if their contact lens prescription is low they might be unwilling to adequately care for the lenses and discontinue wearing them within a few months. If they are determined to try contact lenses for a low eye correction and you are OK with this possibility, you and your teen then make an appointment with an optometrist for an eye exam.
Your eye doctor will be able to best advise on your teen’s vision. If astigmatism is present, toric contact lenses may need to be prescribed for clear vision. There are new advances in contact lenses that correct astigmatism, but each case is different. Eyeglasses may offer the clearest vision on the eye chart, but the difference gained in peripheral vision may be so significant that the teen feels their vision with contact lenses is far superior to eyeglasses.
Once contacts are prescribed there will be an adjustment period. First the teen must learn how to properly insert and remove lenses on the eye. This is a prerequisite for leaving the office with contact lenses. Sometimes it may take several office visits to reach this skill level, but most teens are so highly motivated they learn extraordinarily fast. They must also learn how to properly clean them. This is essential to good eye health. Hands must be washed before touching the lenses to reduce the chance of eye infections such as pink eye. The lenses should be removed each and every night and washed, then put into a contact lens case filled with disinfecting solution overnight. The contact lens case should be replaced every one to two months and not look like a teen microbiology experiment. Even if the lenses dictate that they can be worn overnight, this is not a good idea for a teen. It is an excellent idea to use one of the new generation 30 day wear lenses for teens on a daily wear basis. I have yet to met a teenager who doesn’t fall asleep during the day at times.Unbelievably , they are often seen sleeping in class! These silicone enhanced contact lenses are super permeable to oxygen and provided an added margin of safety for that occasional nap. Extended continuous wear over night and on consecutive days can damage the cornea as well as cause painful eye infections and loss of sight when teenagers make mistakes in care and handling. As a parent, you should always be present for contact lens care instructions for first time lens wearers
Remember that teen’s eyes are still changing as their body is and eye care should be followed with regular visits to the eye doctor. Never allow a teen to have contact lenses without a pair of glasses. While they may rarely the eyeglasses, the first time they continue wearing contact lenses on an eye that is irritated may be the last time they see clear out of that eye for the rest of their life. They need the option to remove a contact lens from a possible eye infection and wear glasses until they visit the eye doctor. And yes, if you really areok with it there are vampire contact lenses.