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Contact Safety: Tweens

by Lori Sciame | November 6th, 2014 | Safety, Tweens

file4521238453106I know a lot about contacts.  I’ve worn them since I was 14 years old, and my three children all began wearing them in middle school.  I know how great contacts can be; however, I also realize how dangerous they can be as well.  For this reason, I plan to address contact safety in this post.

First, before a tween is given contacts to wear instead of glasses, a parent must assess his or her child’s sense of responsibility.  Learning to use contacts correctly is a HUGE undertaking.  To be frank, some tweens — and even young teens — are not mature enough to handle them.

How do you know if your tween is ready?  Ask yourself the following questions: Does your tween make his bed, brush his teeth, and pick up his clothes without being asked?  Does he follow instructions easily? Basically, is he mature enough to follow the rules of wearing contacts?

Of course children who ask for contacts think they are ready, but they must also SHOW they are ready.

Next, if you decide to allow your teen to begin wearing contacts, you must still supervise his or her lens use. Be vigilant about providing the proper cleaning solution AND about teaching your child how to handle the solution.  For instance, the tip of the solution bottle should never touch any surface.  The container should also be stored at the proper temperature.

Most importantly, a child should never use saliva or tap water in place of contact solution.  This means that you will need to provide a small bottle of solution for your child to carry with her to school.

Other issues to consider: lens case care and proper hand washing before handling the contacts.

Another area to monitor is the amount of time the lenses are worn.  Children will often forget to remove contact lenses before falling asleep. Unless the contacts the doctor prescribes can be classified as extended wear, a child should never be allowed to sleep in contacts.

Also, never let a child use a lens for longer than the prescribed time. In most cases, that’s two weeks of wear with daily removal. If you can afford it, daily wear lenses may be better suited for tweens, as they don’t require scrupulous cleaning.

Finally, make it perfectly clear to your child that contacts may seem harmless, but that improper care and/or use will result in an eye infection or worse!  Stress the fact that wearing contacts is a privilege, one that must be earned.  Also make sure your child understands that it is your duty as a parent to monitor their use of the contacts.

My youngest child may be 17, but when she falls asleep while doing homework, I still wake her up to take out her contacts.  She grumbles a bit, but she always thanks me in the morning!

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