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How young is too young?
These are questions best discussed between you, your family and your eye care professional. Your eye care professional is responsible for ensuring your eye health and your vision. Your parents are responsible for your overall health and security. But YOU are responsible for caring for YOUR contact lenses.

What is the determining factor?
Chances are, when you discuss contact lenses, that discussion will center around one question: Are you a responsible person? Wearing contact lenses requires responsible wear and lens care-according to the instructions provided by your eye care professional and their staff.

Am I a responsible young person?
This is the critical issue. Contact lenses are regulated medical devices-and there are innate risks that make proper care essential. Young people can be responsible in following their wear schedules for their contact lenses and in their lens care regimens, but you have to demonstrate that YOU are a responsible person-or your eye care professional likely won’t prescribe contact lenses for you.

Are there measures of responsibility?
Yes. Do you care for your eyeglasses-or do you lose them or break them often? Do you heed your dentist and floss and brush your teeth each night? If you wear braces, do you heed your orthodontist and avoid gum and sticky foods that might damage them? Do you maintain good hygiene in caring for your hair and nails and other parts of your body?

Okay, so maybe I’m not such a responsible person....
Then maybe you’re not ready for contact lenses-today. Perhaps in a year or two, when you improve your personal hygiene and keep better track of valued possessions, you can have another family conversation about wearing contact lenses.

Why is proper care of contact lenses so vital?
There are risks associated with contact lens wear. The precious cornea or front of the eye is a unique tissue in the human body. In order for us to see clearly through the cornea, it is free from veins. Without nutrient-supplying veins, the cornea derives needed oxygen from air and from the tear film on the eye. At the same time, this tear film, in combination with the thin plastic covering of a contact lens, creates a fertile environment for potentially harmful bacteria and infection. Proper cleaning, rinsing and disinfection each time your lens is removed (according to instructions given by your eye care professional and their staff) must be followed without exception! And never, ever, swap lenses with a friend. That’s an invitation to harmful infections.

Why wear contact lenses while young?
There are many excellent reasons for young people to wear contact lenses to see clearly. First, contact lenses offer excellent acuity and vastly improved peripheral vision over eyeglasses-a key edge in sports. Further, your appearance and sense of confidence can be greatly improved by trading in eyeglasses for contact lenses. Finally, today’s contact lenses are better optically, more affordable, and easier to care for than ever before. Parents might benefit from an update on these points.

Can very young people wear contact lenses?
You may be surprised to learn that contact lenses are prescribed even for infants. Contact lenses can provide clear eyesight in rare cases of pediatric cataracts, and they can aid early vision development in cases of extreme light sensitivity.

In very small children, aged 2 or 3, contact lenses can help to address developmental issues. Pediatric eye care professionals have developed ways of testing early childhood eyesight and identifying eye conditions. For example, in small children where refractive errors vary vastly from one eye to the other, contact lenses can equalize the size of the image that each eye provides to the brain. This may help to rescue a child from developing a serious learning deficiency.

Also, some small children are at risk of developing wandering or lazy eyes, and they won’t tolerate eyeglasses or they cheat and peer overtop them. Here, contact lenses are an effective alternative.

What is the expense of contact lens wear?
With disposable formats, contact lenses are a very affordable option for vision correction. You may, in fact, want to wear contact lenses in regular combination with eyeglasses. Many kids put on a pair of disposables just for playing soccer or for dance class or a party-at the cost of only about a dollar.

What are the risks of contact lens wear?
While there are risks with placing a contact lens on your eye, modern contact lenses have been a safe and effective method of seeing clearly for more than a half century. Again, proper lens wear and care is essential to minimizing any risk to your eye health or vision.

Can contact lenses improve sight?
Eye care professionals won’t promise that contact lenses can improve your eyesight, but they can influence visual changes. Teenagers commonly experience “myopia creep:” At each annual eye exam, they are slightly more nearsighted. About a half-century ago, eye care professionals began to notice that teenagers who wore contact lenses tended to experience this creep more slowly if at all. The rigid nature of the hard contact lenses of the day kept the cornea from becoming more distended, which results in nearsightedness as the focused image falls short of the retina. Today, some eye care professionals prescribe rigid contact lenses to keep teens from becoming more nearsighted.

Can contact lenses reshape my eyes?
Yes, new “reverse curve” designs can do just that, in a process called “corneal reshaping.” This involves wearing rigid contact lenses at night to reduce the nearsightedness or farsightedness that already has developed. Many nearsighted or farsighted people who take part in corneal reshaping find that, after just a few weeks, they can live their daylight hours normally, without any contact lens or eyeglasses. They must, however, continue to wear rigid lenses each night to enjoy this benefit.

What if there is no need for vision correction?
Many people, and young people in particular, enjoy wearing colored “plano” contact lenses that contain no corrective power. These lenses can enhance or change the color of your eyes. There also are novelty contact lenses that can make you look like a cat or a vampire on Halloween. Remember: These lenses require the same care in cleaning, rinsing and disinfecting with each removal. And never swap these lenses with a friend!

© 2007 Contact Lens Council
 » Enjoy the freedom of contact lenses  
 » Contact lenses at a glance
 » For all ages
 » For virtually all vision needs
 » Easy to care for
 » How contact lenses work
 » Types of contact lenses
 » Designs for special vision conditions  
 » Designs for eye color
 » How contact lenses are made
 » History of contact lenses
 » How do I get contact lenses?
 » Where do I get contact lenses?
 » How do I care for contact lenses?
 » How do learn lens care?
 » Can I use makeup with contact lenses?
 » What if my eyes become red or irritated?  
 » Contact lenses are for all ages
 » From tweens to seniors
 » When are contact lenses right for you?
          • How young is too young?
          • Am I a responsible young person?
          • Are there measures of responsibility?
          • Why is proper care so vital?
          • Why wear contact lenses while young?
          • What is the expense of contact lens wear?
          • What are the risks of contact lens wear?
          • Can contact lenses improve sight?
          • What if there's no need for vision correction?  
 » Knowing and doing the right steps
 » 6 easy steps to ensure eye health
 » Why proper lens care is so important
 » Learn the proper steps from the start
 » Multipurpose solutions make lens care simple
 » To rub or not to rub?
 » Follow your recommended schedules
 » Keep your solutions pure
 » Eyes red or irritated?
 » Eye makeup and contact lenses
 » Avoid extending contact lens life
 » Silicone Hydrogel Lenses Gaining Acceptance
 » Silicone Hydrogel Lenses Instead of Laser Vision Correction?  
 » Custom Contact Lenses Redefine Optimal Eyesight
 » Contact Lenses Help Aging Eyes
 » Contact Lens Solutions Simplify Compliance
 » Comfort Drops May Offer Relief and Clearer Vision
 » Options Expanding in Daily Disposables
 » Blocking Out Harmful UV Rays