Contact lenses: Is your child ready?
Even though you think your daughter is adorable in her glasses, she hates them. And you have to admit that you're tired of reminding her to wear them, driving back to school to retrieve them, heading out to the optometrist to adjust them, and crawling on the floor seeking their tiny little screws. So when she asks for contacts for the millionth time, you're starting to think it's time to say yes. What do you need to know?
For months, my younger daughter whined that she couldn't see. Dedicated parent that I am, I ignored her for, well, months. And then one day I discovered that my husband had opted in to his company's vision plan -- which we were paying for each month -- and I decided I was going to get my money's worth. So off we went to the eye doctor, where my daughter promptly failed her vision test. And I, once again, was not awarded Mother of the Year.
The compliance factor
When she first got her glasses, my daughter was ecstatic. But about four hours later (yes, really), the magic wore off. And ever since then, I am forever finding her glasses around the house, having her glasses adjusted or repaired, reminding her to wear her glasses, and listening to her whine about how much she hates her glasses.
Caring for contact lensesChildren who wear contacts need to be able to keep them clean, insert them gently, and remove and store them properly. It does take a certain amount of responsibility, but remember that kids are far less likely to take their lenses out and forget them at school/a friend's house/a restaurant or wherever else they go. Disposable lenses that are worn for a period of time and discarded can be a good solution for some kids -- although the lenses can be costly.
Questions to ask
- Do glasses make your child really unhappy? If so, your child may be motivated to care properly for contacts, and the boost in self-esteem will help him or her do better overall.
- Does your child remember to wash hands and brush teeth without reminders? Kids who can't remember to remove lenses when necessary and clean them properly probably aren't ready -- unless you can provide the necessary support.
- Is your child generally responsible? Motivation can help here. If your child really wants the lenses, you may notice a change in behavior.