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Your Child

Are Soft Contact Lenses Safe for Teens and Children?

1:45

While many kids and teens that have to wear eyeglasses would like to switch to soft contact lenses, their parents may be wondering if they are safe for these age groups. The short answer is yes, according to a new review.

"In the past decade, there has been increasing interest in fitting children with contact lenses," said review author Mark Bullimore, an adjunct professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry.

He reviewed nine studies that included 7- to 19-year-olds who use soft contact lenses, to gauge the risk of corneal inflammation and infection. Called "corneal infiltrative events," these are usually mild, but about 5 percent involve a serious infection called microbial keratitis.

The studies revealed that children wearing contact lenses, typically, experience reactions similar to adults. In fact, one large study showed that events in younger children (8 to 12) were much lower than in teenagers from 13 to 17 years of age.

Also, researchers found that microbial keratitis was uncommon. One study actually found no cases in younger kids, and the teen rates of infection were the same as adults.

The difference may be attributed to the daily living habits of the age groups.  It's suspected that younger kids aren't showering or napping while wearing their contact lenses as often as teens do. Those behaviors increase the risk of corneal infiltrative events, Bullimore said.

Bullimore believes the findings should reassure parents about the safety of soft contacts for children and teens. They may improve young people's self-esteem and quality of life, and have been shown to prevent or slow progression of nearsightedness in children, he said.

"The overall picture is that the incidence of corneal infiltrative events in children is no higher than in adults, and in the youngest age range ... it may be markedly lower," Bullimore wrote in the review.

Parents can help kids avoid eye infections by supervising their youngster’s cleaning and wearing habits when using contact lenses, Bullimore added.

Soft contacts are now available with no age restrictions. Parents should talk with their child’s optician or optometrist for more information on transitioning from glasses to soft contacts.

The study was published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.

Story source: Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/eye-care-information-13/eye-and-vision-problem-news-295/soft-contact-lenses-safe-for-kids-and-teens-review-finds-723398.html

Your Teen

Teens and Contact Lenses

2:00

As kids with vision problems grow older, many choose to switch from wearing eyeglasses to contact lenses. Teenagers often prefer the no-glasses look and the convenience of not having to keep track of their glasses throughout the day. Contacts are a great alternative to glasses, but they do require attentive hygiene care and should be removed when swimming and sleeping or napping to help prevent eye infections.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows more than 85 percent of adolescent contact lens wearers report habits that increase eye infection risk.

The CDC report is the first to analyze wear and care habits of the roughly 3 million U.S. adolescents age 12 to 17 who wear contact lenses, the agency said.

"Contact lenses are a safe and effective way to correct your vision when they are worn and cared for as recommended," Dr. Jennifer Cope, medical epidemiologist in CDC's Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, said in a press release. "However, adolescents and adults can improve the way they take care of their contact lenses to reduce their risk of serious eye infections."

Researchers noted that the habits that put teens at highest risk for eye infections are sleeping with their contacts in, not being examined by an eye doctor once a year and swimming without removing their lenses first.

In addition, 52 percent of the teens didn’t replace their lenses as often as prescribed.

The most common eye infection from wearing contacts is keratitis, a contamination of the cornea - the clear outer covering of your eye. Sometimes they are called corneal ulcers. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and a rare but serious eye parasite can cause keratitis.

The signs of an eye infection can include:

·      Redness

·      Swelling

·      Extra tears or sticky gooey drainage from your eye

·      Blurry vision

·      Light sensitivity

·      Itching, burning or feeling like there is something in your eye.

·      Eye pain

If your teen complains of any of these symptoms or you notice that your teenager seems to be having eye problems, get him or her to an eye doctor as soon as possible and make sure they don’t wear their contacts until they are examined.

Eye infections from poor contact lens hygiene habits can lead to serious problems, including blindness, the CDC warns.

Teens are often in a hurry and have a lot on their plates these days. It’s easy to get a little lax about going through the steps to make sure that their contacts are cleaned properly and when you’re really tired, you can simply forget to remove them before bed. You may have to occasionally remind your teen to do these things.

Of course, teens aren’t the only young age group that wears contacts. Kids as young as 10-12 years old can wear them, but experts recommended waiting until a child is 13-14 years old.

I can tell you from experience- once you’ve had an eye infection from not handling your contacts properly, you’ll remember the next time you wear them to make sure they are clean and to take them out when you go to sleep or swim. It’s an ugly and painful experience!

Story sources: Amy Wallace, https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/08/17/CDC-Adolescent-contact-lens-wearers-employ-bad-hygiene-habits/3651502994271/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=5

http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/contact-lenses-eye-infections#1

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