Pediatric and Teen CL Care
Why Daily Disposable Lenses Make Sense for Children
BY CHRISTINE W. SINDT, OD, FAAO
Daily disposable lenses offer a number of advantages for children, and parents often appreciate the advantages of convenience and compliance. They also want the best visual performance for their children and may worry about the child’s level of responsibility. Doctors often feel more comfortable fitting children in daily disposable lenses, too (Sindt, Riley 2011). With the simplicity of the daily disposable replacement system and the benefit of enhanced compliance (Dumbleton 2009), it’s no surprise that children are prescribed the highest proportion of daily disposable contact lenses (Efron 2011).
Most common pediatric prescriptions are available in daily disposable lenses, and several studies have found that these lenses provide better vision compared to reusable daily wear soft lenses, with fewer symptoms of cloudy vision (Nason et al 1994, Solomon et al 1996, Fahmy et al 2010). Furthermore, myopic children under 12 report better vision-related quality of life when fit with contact lenses compared to eyeglasses (Rah et al 2010).
Comfort is enhanced by placing a fresh lens on the eye each day, thereby eliminating biofilms that may build up in a lens case (Chalmers et al 2012). Lens deposits may lead to symptoms of dryness and discomfort. Daily disposable hydrogel lens wearers have fewer toxic and hypersensitivity reactions (Radford et al 2009) than reusable lenses, and these lenses have been shown to improve the signs and symptoms of tired, irritated eyes, blurred vision, redness, discomfort, deposits and dryness (Fahmy et al 2010).
Daily disposable lenses are available in silicone hydrogel, a material that has been extensively studied and shown to minimize hypoxic signs, such as limbal hyperemia, and improve comfort.
Replacing the lens daily reduces the build-up of denatured proteins and other antigens that accumulate on the lens during wear. In one study, some patients reported they were able to discontinue allergy medications when using daily disposable contact lenses (Hayes et al 2003).
Poor patient compliance may lead to adverse events, and poor compliance with care regimens is rampant among contact lens wearers. But daily disposable lenses require only proper handwashing prior to insertion and removal. It may be difficult for parents to monitor their child’s compliance, so reducing the number of steps to maintain compliance makes parents and doctors more confident that children will be able to enjoy contact lens wear without problems.
Children are more likely to engage in part-time contact lens wear (Efron et al 2011), and daily disposable lenses are less expensive when worn 1 to 4 days per week compared to reusable lenses. They equal the cost of reusable lenses at 5 days per week of wear and are slightly more expensive when worn full time (Efron et al, 2010). Parents appreciate having replacement lenses on hand in case children damage or tear lenses. Overall, many parents feel the benefits of safety and compliance outweigh any cost concerns.
From comfort and convenience to improved vision, daily disposable lenses are a great vision correction option for pediatric patients. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references.asp and click on document SE2013.
Dr. Sindt is a clinical associate professor of ophthalmology and director of the contact lens service at the University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. She is the past chair of the AOA Cornea and Contact Lens Council. She is a consultant or advisor to Alcon Vision Care and Vistakon and has received research funds from Alcon. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.