I’ve had a child in contact lenses for a couple years now. And she’s not yet seven.
sometimes often shocking to people. I get lots of incredulous looks and tons of questions. So, just in case you’ve had some of the same queries, I thought I’d go ahead and address some of the most common ones right here.
Ready? Here goes…
1. She can put them in and take them out all by herself???
No. No, she cannot. At least 80% of people ask me this question and, honestly, it still staggers me a bit, but it was even crazier when she was only four. Anyway, no, she cannot handle the insertion and removal of contact lenses on her own. That’s definitely a “parent job.”
2. Do you have to do that every day?
No. She is allowed to wear this type of lenses for one week straight, then takes a night off to let her eyes rest.
3. Who puts them in? Is that your job?
I’d say about 75% of the time, it’s Daddy’s job. That might seem odd since I’M the one of the two of us who actually wears contacts, but, for us, it works. I think part of it might be that I don’t have much patience for people who aren’t good at putting things in their eyes. Since I’ve been doing it since I was 12, I’m pretty tolerant and adept. He, on the other hand, is awful about eye drops and all that, so he can put up with more blinking and stuff.
4. Does she have perfect vision with the lenses?
Nope. Not even close, really. She’s still two and five diopters off from corrected, respectively. And that’s significant. It’s better correction than she was getting with glasses, but it’s not perfect. The contacts she’d need to fully correct are several hundred dollars a pop and neither her doctor nor her parents feel that’s a good option for a six-year-old.
5. So, you just let her not see very well, then?
Well, here’s the thing. Various ages have different “vision field needs”, if you will. When C. was a baby and she constantly took her glasses off, I was frustrated. I expressed this to her eye doctor and he told me this: “She’ll wear them when she needs to. Everything she needs to see right now is close to her– your face, her hands, that toy she’s about to gnaw on. Little babies don’t do distance motor planning, so it’s unnecessary for her to see well that far away.”
He was right. As she moved into toddlerhood, she willingly wore the glasses. Similarly, as she gets older, the distance vision requirements are getting more demanding. Fonts get smaller. Writing becomes critical. Reading and math are big parts of her day.
Later this month, I will confer with her ophthalmologist and we will discuss layering a weaker glasses lens OVER the contacts to give her more precise correction. It’s an ongoing process to ensure she’s getting the best and most appropriate correction we can offer.
6. What’s the most challenging part?
Well, putting them in and taking them out is a little bit of a pain. Quite frankly, just REMEMBERING when we need to take them out can be a challenge. She also sometimes fails to mention when one lens has fallen out, so that’s not particularly fun.
Far and away, though, the biggest challenge is simply that she’s little and, thus, does foolish little kid things from time to time… like poking her fingernail through each of the foil tops and, as a result, causing them all to dry and shrivel. Yeah… not the greatest discovery. But, for the most part, she’s learning to be responsible and does a pretty good job.
It’s definitely not a common thing to find a first grader in contacts– especially one with over two years of experience under her belt. For us, though, it’s just part of life. We’re ever-so-grateful to have made the switch that allows her to see more of this beautiful world in which we live.
Do you have any more questions about little kids wearing contact lenses? Let me know and I’ll do my best to answer!