Eye Glasses or Contact Lenses? Advice for Parents from Your Children’s Eye Care Center

Has your child expressed an interest in wearing contact lenses or are you considering the option for his or her outdoor activities? Determining whether eyeglasses or contact lenses are preferable for your son or daughter is a big decision, and below are some points to consider, from the perspective of an eye doctor.

First of all, the answer is not as simple as which one is best, because contacts are not meant to be worn in place of eyeglasses; they are meant to be worn as a part-time alternative for children and adults who wear glasses. All contact lens wearers in our office are required to own a pair of eyeglasses. If your child has significantly blurred vision without his contacts and does not own a pair of updated eyeglasses, how often do you think he is likely to want to remove the lenses to allow his eyes to rest and breathe without the barrier of contact lenses in his eyes? Likely not often. This means he is almost guaranteed to over-wear his contacts, increasing his risk for infection and complications.

Now that we know choosing to wear contact lenses is an option in addition to maintaining an updated pair of eyeglasses, let’s consider some additional points about contact lens wear.

Here is what our experienced Family Practice Optometrist at our children’s eye care center in Wellington, Florida has to say about contact lens wear for children.

The table below makes a few comparisons between eyeglasses and contact lenses:


Prescription Eye Glasses Vs. Contact Lenses
·       Optics and Prescription:

·       (+)The prescription in a pair of glasses is made exactly as the doctor prescribes it.

·       (-) Eyeglass lenses sit out in front of the eyes inducing a perceived change in how big or small things look to the person wearing them.

·       (-)Sudden changes in temperature or humidity (even when sweating) can cause eyeglass lenses to fog up causing blurred vision

·       (-)For children with amblyopia (lazy eye) due to very different prescriptions in each eye, it can sometimes be difficult for a child to use two eyes together when the eyeglass lenses are so different

·       Optics and Prescription:

·       (+)The prescription in a pair of soft disposable contact lenses is often a little different from the “exact” eyeglass prescription, as soft contact lenses don’t always come in every possible power.

·       (-)Contact lenses sit directly on the eyes providing a natural view of the world

·       (+)Sudden changes in temperature or humidity do not affect visual clarity or cause fogging of contact lenses.   Of note: In very dry climates, contact lenses may become dry, causing irritation and blurred vision

·       (+)For children with amblyopia (lazy eye) due to very different prescriptions in each eye, contacts can provide the opportunity for better coordination between the two eyes resulting in improved depth perception

·       Protection:

·       (+)Provide protection for the eye against flying soccer balls and other dangers

·       (+)Provide UV protection with UV blocking naturally found in polycarbonate lenses and in the form of photochromatic lenses that turn dark in the sun

·       Protection:

·       (-)Provide no protection for the eye against flying objects

·       (+)Some contact lenses contain UV blocking in them, but not enough to provide complete protection. However with vision corrected by contact lenses, sunglasses can easily be worn over contact lenses

·       Peripheral Vision:

·       (-)Peripheral vision ends where eyeglass lenses end; this can be an adjustment for new drivers or athletes

·       Peripheral Vision:

·       (+)Peripheral vision is a big benefit to contact lens wear, especially to athletes and new drivers

·       Infection & Allergy:

·       (+)There is no added risk of infection incurred from wearing eyeglasses

·       (-)Allergies to any component of an eyeglass frame (metal, vinyl, silicone, rubber, plastics) can cause a rash and irritation

·       Infection & Allergy:

·       (-)There is an added risk of infection when touching the eye with a contact lens and fingers; Good hygiene is critical!

·       (+)Allergies to eyeglass frame materials can be avoided while contact lenses are being worn. Of note: Some contact lenses do contain silicone, and some patients do have sensitivities to some contact lenses and solutions


One final point regarding contacts in regards to a question we get frequently at SeaView Eyecare: There is no perfect or minimum age for contact lens wear. For some children, contact lens wear is a necessity. For example, infants born with congenital cataracts are often fitted with contact lenses that their parents insert and remove. Although we do not see infants in our office, we see many young children and we prescribe contact lenses for a lot of them. How well your child will adhere to the regimen of removing contacts and discarding them as prescribed, voicing concern when something seems abnormal or uncomfortable and maintaining good hygiene prior to insertion and removal of contact lenses are all critical to the decision of whether he or she is ready for contact lens wear.

At SeaView Eyecare, our board-certified optometrists have extensive experience working with children and know how to make them feel comfortable during their eye examination. Contact lenses can be scary at first, but our staff is patient and makes the learning experience fun.   Our child-friendly atmosphere puts parents and children at ease so that both can learn how to wear and care for contact lenses safely. Visit our office and see the stylish (and durable) selection of sunglasses and prescription eyewear in our children’s eye care center and schedule an appointment to explore the possibility of contact lens wear. Parents love our Perfect Protection Plan, which provides a replacement pair of glasses in the event they break due to manufacturer’s defect or if treated lenses become scratched. Our office accepts most major insurance plans.

Schedule an appointment for the entire family. From eye exams to prescription eye wear and emergency care, we provide comprehensive optical services for children and adults.

Call 561-790-7290 or contact us online to book an appointment at our children’s eye care center in Wellington, Florida. At SeaView Eyecare, we provide high quality products and services for the entire family.

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