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Contact Lenses for Children

Do kids and contact lenses make good partners?

Many parents question whether children are good candidates for wearing contact lenses safely. In general, yes – many kids can successfully and safely wear contacts! However, this depends heavily on the individual child’s personality and maturity level, and not necessarily on their age (as many people believe).

At Turner Eye Institute, we perform thorough eye exams for children in our modern eye care offices in San Leandro, Concord, Castro Valley, and Alameda, California. Based on the results from your child’s eye exam and a personalized consultation, we’ll help determine their candidacy for contacts. What issues must be taken into consideration?

When are kids ready to start wearing contact lenses?

Often, children as young as eight years old can wear contacts – but older teens cannot. That’s because readiness has to do with the child’s level of responsibility. To figure out if your kid is responsible enough to take care of contact lenses, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will he or she follow our eye doctor’s instructions for how to take care of contact lenses?
  • Will he or she remember to remove the contacts before falling asleep each night?
  • Will your child be able to keep track of when to switch to a fresh pair of lenses?
  • Does your child finish chores and homework without constant reminders?

What’s the best type of contact lenses for kids?

Our optometrists in San Leandro, Concord, Castro Valley, and Alameda, California, often recommend daily disposable soft contacts for children of all ages. Caring for these lenses couldn’t be any easier – all your kid needs to do is throw them out each night and insert a fresh pair in the morning. For the health of your child’s eyes, it’s critical to choose high-quality dailies from a premium, brand-name manufacturer. Cheaper versions, such as knock-off labels from online shops, are associated with a much higher incidence of eye injury and infection!

How can kids benefit from contact lenses?

If your child plays sports, this is a simple question to answer! Glasses, even the best polycarbonate frames and lenses, can crack and cause eye injury. Putting on a pair of safety goggles over contact lenses is a much safer solution. As an added bonus, this vision combo gives wider peripheral vision than eyeglasses for seeing the whole field or court.

All kids, athletes and bookworms, get a boost to their self-esteem if they’re insecure about their appearance in glasses. Studies have shown how shy children were able to break free and socialize with more confidence once they switched to contact lenses.

Also, many kids have a habit of taking their glasses on and off, forgetting them in random places. Contact lenses cannot be misplaced as easily!

What’s the most important thing to tell kids who want to wear contact lenses?

When kids visit our optometry practices in San Leandro, Concord, Castro Valley, and Alameda, California, to ask about getting contacts, we make sure to tell them about the risks of being negligent. When contact lenses aren’t cared for properly, they can lead to serious infections that may damage vision. At Turner Eye Institute, we’ll take the time to instruct your child on the best ways to handle, disinfect, and store their new contact lenses!

At Turner Eye Institute, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 800-339-2733 or book an appointment online to see one of our San Leandro eye doctors.

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Is Too Much Screen Time Dangerous For Your Kids?

Screen Time Pros and Cons

Whether it is homework, email, gaming, chatting with friends, searching the web or watching Youtube, kids these days seem to have an endless number of reasons to be glued to a screen. Many parents out there are wondering how bad this can be for their kids and whether they should be limiting screen time.

There are certainly benefits to allowing your kids to use digital devices, whether it is educational, social or providing a needed break. However, studies show that excessive screen time can have behavioral consequences such as irritability, moodiness, inability to concentrate, poor behavior, and other issues as well. Too much screen time is also linked to dry eyes and meibomian gland disorders (likely due to a decreased blink rate when using devices), as well as eye strain and irritation, headaches, back or neck and shoulder pain, and sleep disturbances. Some of these computer vision syndrome symptoms are attributed to blue light that is emitted from the screens of digital devices.

Blue light is a short wavelength, high-energy visible light that is emitted by digital screens, LED lights and the sun. Studies suggest that exposure to some waves of blue light over extended periods of time may be harmful to the light-sensitive cells of the retina at the back of the eye. When these cells are damaged, vision loss can occur. Research indicates that extreme blue light exposure could lead to macular degeneration or other serious eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness. Studies show that blue light also interferes with the regulation of the the body’s circadian rhythm which can have a disruptive impact on the body’s sleep cycle. Lack of quality sleep can lead to serious health consequences as well.

Beyond these studies, the long term effects of blue light exposure from digital devices are not yet known since this is really the first generation in which people are using digital devices to such an extent. While it may take years to fully understand the impact of excessive screen time on our eyes and overall health, it is probably worth limiting it due to these preliminary findings and the risks it may pose. This is especially true for young children and the elderly, who are particularly susceptible to blue light exposure.

How to Protect the Eyes From Blue Light

The first step in proper eye protection is abstaining from excessive exposure by limiting the amount of time spent using a computer, smart phone or tablet – especially at night, to avoid interfering with sleep. Many pediatricians even recommend zero screen time for children under two.

The next step would be to reduce the amount of blue light entering the eyes by using blue light blocking glasses or coatings that deflect the light away from the eyes. There are also apps and screen filters that you can add to your devices to reduce the amount of blue light being projected from the screen. Speak to your eye doctor about steps you can take to reduce blue light exposure from digital devices.

As a side note, the sun is an even greater source of blue light so it is essential to protect your child’s eyes with UV and blue light blocking sunglasses any time your child goes outside – even on overcast days.

The eyes of children under 18 are particularly susceptible to damage from environmental exposure as they have transparent crystalline lenses that are more susceptible to both UV and blue light rays. While the effects (such as increased risk of age-related macular degeneration) may not be seen for decades later, it’s worth it to do what you can now to prevent future damage and risk for vision loss.

 

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