What Age Do Kids Start Wearing Contact Lenses?

When can kids get contacts is a question that is asked very often in the eye doctor’s office. Deciding when a child can start wearing contact lenses can be a challenging decision for parents and doctors. Let’s take the different factors that come into play when deciding what age a child can start to wear contact lenses.

When Can Kids Get Contacts: Maturity Level

The first step is to evaluate how mature and responsible a child is. This is one of the most important factors that eye care providers consider when recommending contact lenses. 

For some older children and young teens, this could mean they can wear contact lenses in middle school, while for others they may be better off waiting until high school.

Proper Lens Care

To help children become successful contact lens wearers, it is essential to educate them on proper lens care and personal hygiene. One of the most important aspects of ensuring safe contact lens use is teaching children about basic lens care. This includes understanding the importance of handwashing before handling contact lenses and following exact instructions from their eye care professional regarding lens insertion, removal, and cleaning.


Emphasize the importance of proper hygiene, especially washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching contact lenses.

Storage And Cleaning

Teach children how to correctly clean, store, and replace their lenses as per their eye care professional’s instructions.

Signs That Your Child Is Ready

Some indicators of a child’s readiness for contacts include good grooming habits, good organizational skills, the ability to follow instructions for proper lens care, and being able to keep their personal environment clean.  Hygiene is especially crucial for contact lens wearers, as poor habits can increase the risk of eye infections and other complications. 

Identifying Problems With Contact Lenses

Using contact lenses of any kind whether they are disposable soft contact lenses or hard lenses is a big responsibility. Even if your child’s eye doctor has fit them with a type of contact lens that they like, problems can come up. 

Routine Eye Check-ups

Contact lens wearers should keep up with regular visits to the eye care doctor whether it is via telemedicine or in person. This can help young adults who are wearing contacts to check in for their eye health as well as discuss any issues they may be having with their contact lenses. 


All contact lens wearers should be able to communicate any pain or concerns they are having with their vision. Some types of contact lenses are less well tolerated than others for some people. Sometimes, teenagers and older children are afraid to communicate if their eyes are hurting because they are afraid they won’t be able to wear contact lenses. Luckily, in a situation where a person becomes intolerant of one type of contact lens, changing to a different brand can be a good choice and result in significant improvements to their comfort in contact lenses. 

When Can Kids Get Contacts: Insertion And Removal

Teaching children how to insert and remove contact lenses safely can be pretty challenging. 


Your child will need to have enough dexterity and coordination to get their lenses in and out. In an ideal situation you should be able to take your contacts in and out of your eye without a mirror. Most young teens will have this and so this shouldn’t be a major limiting factor for most people.


This is the biggest limiting factor. Some patients simply can not touch their eye or they close their eyes tightly when they see the contact lens coming. This type of patient would not be a good candidate for contact lens wear. 

When Can Kids Get Contacts: Is There A “Best” Age?

There is no specific recommended age for starting contact lenses. Physically, a child’s eyes can tolerate contact lenses at a very young age. 

For the most part children they will start wearing contacts somewhere around age 10. Again, to reiterate what was stated above, the child’s maturity level and their ability to take out and put in the contact lenses is what matters the most. There are adults that lack the maturity and dexterity for contact lens use. 

When Can Kids Get Contacts: Soft Lenses Or Hard?

When it comes to contact lenses there are so many different options. What may be a great option for one patient may not be a good option for you. If it is your first time wearing lenses, it is very important that you feel comfortable in what you are going to use. Let’s take a look at the different types of contact lenses so you can be educated to make the right choice for you and your child. 

Soft Contact Lenses Vs. Hard Contact Lenses

When it comes to selecting contact lenses for children, there are two major categories. These are soft lenses and rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses or “hard” contact lenses. 

Soft lenses are made from soft, flexible materials that easily allow oxygen to reach the eyes. This can make soft contact lenses more comfortable for extended wear. These lenses are generally easier for kids to adapt to and can be used to correct various vision problems.

On the other hand, RGP lenses are made from a more rigid material. While hard contact lenses are still permeable to oxygen, they offer a higher degree of visual sharpness. 

RGP lenses are less prone to tearing. They might be a better option for some children, particularly those with high astigmatism or keratoconus. 

However, they usually require a longer adaptation period when compared to soft lenses for younger children. These lenses may feel less comfortable to start.

Dailies, Monthlies And Weeklies

Another factor to consider when selecting contact lenses for kids is the wearing schedule of the lens. There are dailies, weeklies and monthlies. Let’s dive in. 

Daily disposable lenses are single-use lenses that are discarded at the end of the day, making them a convenient and low-maintenance option. With daily disposable contact lens wear, there is a reduced risk of infection. This is one of the biggest advantages to them and they are convenient. Unfortunately, daily disposable contact lenses are more expensive.

Reusable lenses, on the other hand,  are the monthly and weekly lenses. These types of conact lenses need more involved care. Because they are not daily disposables, these lenses need to be be cleaned and disinfected after each use. 

They can be more cost-effective, as a single pair can last anywhere from two weeks to a month or even up to a year, depending on the lens type. However, the cleaning process must be strictly followed to make sure that your eye health remains intact. 

Extended Wear Contact Lenses

Extended wear contact lenses are the types of lenses that you can sleep in. However, this can often lead to poor hygiene of the contact lenses. While these reusable contact lenses may be technically approved for sleeping in, it is not the best idea. 

Sleeping in contact lenses dramatically increases your risk of infection. Take your medical advice from your eye doctor during your next routine eye exam. 

Colored Contacts Or Clear Corrective Lenses?

Colored contacts are just as safe as any other contact lenses. The most important part is that during the contact lens exam and contact lens fitting, your child feels comfortable in the contact lenses. 

The only down side to colored lenses is that there are some limitations when it comes to types of lenses as well as extreme ranges of refractive error. There are usually more clear lens options to choose from.

When Can Kids Get Contacts: Benefits Of Contact Lenses

Contact lenses can provide numerous benefits for children, including improved vision, enhanced self-esteem, and greater participation in sports.

Wider Field of Vision

Contact lenses conform to the curvature of your eye. This can cause a wider field of view that is clearer out in the periphery. This is compared to the vision distortions that can happen at the edge of high precription eyeglasses. This can be particularly advantageous for sports and other physical activities.

Unobstructed View

Another one of the benefits of contacts is that contacts do not have frames to obstruct your vision. This benefit can be especially beneficial when participating in activities where peripheral vision is important.

No Glasses Fogging

Unlike glasses, contact lenses won’t fog up or collect precipitation under rainy, humid, or cold conditions. This makes them useful in all weather and temperatures.

More Freedom for Physical Activities

Contact lenses stay in place and do not move around on your face. An active kid who loves playing outdoor sports may be better suited than glasses for sports and physical activities.

It is important to remember that even with contact lenses, children should wear protective eyewear when they are playing sports in order to prevent an eye injury in active kids. 

Aesthetic Considerations

Many people prefer the way they look without glasses. Contact lenses provide the benefit of correcting your vision without altering your physical appearance. Teen years can be a very vulnerable time and exploring the benefits of contact lenses can be a good idea. 

When Can Kids Get Contacts: Summary

Thinking what the right age is for contacts? The best way to start exploring is to talk to your child’s eye doctor. Contact lenses are not a great choice for very young children. However, one your child reaces 8-11 years of age, it may be okay for them to switch out of a pair of glasses into contact. 

Contact lens wear can have a positive impact on a child’s self-esteem, and in many cases may offer sharper vision that the child’s glasses do. During the contact lens process, your eye care specialist can answer any specific questions you have. It is best to take your eye care provider’s advice as well when considering contact lenses for children of any age. 

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