Article Date: 4/1/2008

Why Prescribe Contact Lenses for Children?

Why Prescribe Contact Lenses for Children?

Contact lenses can change everything for your pediatric patients. Learn about the benefits and how to get started.

Dr. Brujic: Now that the Contact Lenses in Pediatrics (CLIP) Study has provided sound scientific data to support fitting young children in contact lenses, practitioners are looking for strategies to develop this segment of their practices. There's no better way to do this than to meet the needs of pediatric patients and offer the benefits of contact lenses. What are the best ways to do this?

1. SHARE THE CLIP DATA.

Dr. Walline: Based on the surveys completed by young children and teens during the CLIP Study, we know that contact lenses improved the quality of their lives significantly. Children wearing contact lenses felt much better about participating in sports, dance and other activities than they did while wearing eyeglasses. They also felt much better about their appearance in contact lenses. These changes occurred almost immediately. See Table 1 for the benefits reported by the 169 participants in the CLIP Study.

2. DON'T MAKE AGE THE DECIDING FACTOR.

Dr. Brujic: In your experience, what is the earliest age at which you can successfully fit pediatric patients in contact lenses?

Dr. Sindt: Virtually any age. Whether I fit a child in contact lenses depends on the power and the other factors we discussed today, as well as the child's awareness. If I have a +4.00D 5-year-old, I may prescribe contact lenses.

However, parent involvement is key.

Dr. Rah: I agree. I'm reluctant to put a number on the age.

Dr. French: Myopia changes the most between 8 and 12 years of age, but I have fit 4-to-7-year-old children.

Dr. Brujic: What would you say to parents concerned about lens care?

Dr. Rah: Young children are accustomed to following rules, which makes them ideal students of good lens wear and care.

Dr. Sindt: Children at this age are very impressionable. When you teach them good habits, they practice them for life.

Dr. Walline: My advice is to stop using age to determine if a patient is appropriate for contact lens wear. Other factors that have nothing to do with age, such as motivation, maturity and hygiene, are far more important.

3. APPRECIATE THE IMPACT YOU WILL HAVE.

Dr. Sindt: Perhaps the most important advantage of contact lenses is a psychological benefit for children.

Dr. French: I agree. You can change lives.

Dr. Sindt: I was fit as a child in contact lenses, and it really changed my life. Prior to contact lens wear, I was very shy; I lacked self confidence. With contact lenses, I felt I was participating in the world and not just viewing it through windows.

"Young children are accustomed to following rules, which makes them ideal students of good lens wear and care."

Marjorie J. Rah, OD, PhD, FAAO

Dr. Walline: If you are comfortable working with children, you should fit them with contact lenses. Become comfortable with providing young patients and their parents with all of their options.

4. FOCUS ON PATIENTS' NEEDS.

Dr. Brujic: What I'm hearing is that you focus on the needs of the patient, which is the way it should be. Children who are active and wear eyeglasses most of the time are likely ideal candidates. CLS



Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: April 2008