Although we are looking for a maturational age of at least 12-13 years, we have some extremely motivated 10 and 11 year old patients who have done well with contact lenses. The typical successful younger patient is acquainted with the regimentation of an athletic or performing arts program and actually needs contact lenses to continue participation at an advanced level.

What is an appropriate age for starting contact lenses?

On the other hand, we have patients who are 19-20 years old who are having problems with their contacts because of inadequate hygiene or overuse. For successful contact lens wear, regimentation and meticulous hygiene are more important than the age of the patient.

Youngsters who are sloppy with their glasses may break frames and scratch lenses. Patients who are sloppy with contact lenses can create serious eye infections leading to loss of vision. The reliable patient understands that a lens must not be used in an irritated eye (even if there is a big social or sporting event that day) and that help should be sought if irritation continues. Less mature patients have a higher incidence of lost or torn lenses and eye infections.

Almost any eye (even in patients with thick glasses) can be fit with contact lenses. The appropriate age is, ultimately, a family decision. If you are insecure in this decision, please feel free to discuss it with Dr. Keys.

How do we get contact lenses?

If you decide to have our office dispense contact lenses, we will proceed as follows:
1. After your child’s annual eye exam, make an appointment for a Contact Lens Fitting. About one hour will be spent trying on contact lenses and taking additional eye measurements. Your child will have an opportunity to see what lenses are all about before you actually make the purchase. Lenses are ordered that day.

2. One to two weeks later, during a Contact Lens Training, approximately one hour is spent with verbal and written instruction. Before taking lenses home, the patient must demonstrate their ability to successfully instill, remove, and clean their own lenses.

3. To ensure proper eye health, corneal adaptation, and patient compliance, follow up visits are scheduled after dispensing the lenses. Typically these visits occur one week and then one month or a few months later. Occasionally, additional visits are needed during the first 3 months of wear. These additional visits will be included in your initial contact lens package price.

4. Steps 1, 2, and 3 are all included in the initial contact lens package price. Call for more specific details about pricing and payment plans.

What if we want to get lenses elsewhere?

Contact lenses are sold at a variety of retail outlets. Unfortunately, our office sees the complications from contact lenses fit elsewhere. Although contact lens fitters at retail stores may be addressed as “doctor” they are not M.D.’s or ophthalmologists. If your child has a complication you will not want to call the contact lens salesperson at “Elsewhere Discount Optical” for emergency treatment.

Also, note that few, if any, contact lens practitioners support the vigorous and necessary fitting and follow up schedule as outlined above. However, if you choose to go elsewhere, simply take your child’s eyeglass prescription to the contact lens store and have them do the fitting and dispensing. We cannot give you a specific prescription for contact lenses because the prescription is not finalized until complete fitting and follow up determines the safety of a specific contact fit and design. We cannot assume responsibility for contact lenses fit elsewhere.

What types of lenses are best?

Hardly a month goes by without the announcement of a new type of contact lens. We are continually evaluating the latest developments of disposable soft contact lenses that work best in a young active population. The choice of lens materials is based on a balance of optics, comfort, durability, resistance to deposits, oxygen transmission, etc. We have lenses that vary from daily disposable to three-month custom made lenses. If you have a preference for a specific type of lens please let us know before the first fitting.

Who is not a candidate for contact lenses?

Indecisive children who are being strongly urged by well-meaning family and friends seldom do well with contact lenses.
Motivation is a key factor in successful contact lens wear.

Severe ocular allergies may limit or prevent the use of contact lenses during allergy season. Milder allergies can be managed by limiting wearing time, using daily disposable lenses, and/or prescribing allergy eye drops.

Some eye phobias may make contact lens use impossible. Milder phobias can be conquered.

Why does my child need a complete eye exam before beginning the contact lens fitting process?

A recent routine eye exam must be completed before contact lenses can be considered because as children grow their eyes and vision change. Last year’s measurements are not accurate for determining the correct prescription for contacts. The complete eye exam fee is not related to, and not included in, the contact lens package price.

What if my child has difficulty learning how to use contacts?

Your child will be taught how to instill and remove contact lenses during the Contact Lens Fitting appointment (the first appointment in the series). Occasionally, because this is a new skill, some patients are not completely comfortable or successful with putting contacts into their own eyes. In these cases, if the patient wants to continue, we ask that you return for a second fitting appointment for additional instruction and practice.

No contact lenses will be ordered until the patient can demonstrate that they are comfortable with touching their eyes and handling the lenses. There will be a charge for this additional fitting appointment, but the payment will be applied to the entire contact lens package price if lenses are ordered.