Yes. It is true. But an infant doesn’t get contact lenses just because they don’t like their glasses. Infants as young as one week old may need contact lenses because that is the only way their eyes can get the best sight to ensure proper visual development. Infants might need contacts if they have had cataract surgery, have extremely high prescription glasses, or have very different prescriptions for the two eyes.
If an infant or very young child needs a contact lens, it can be a challenging experience for everyone involved. For that reason, contact lenses are only recommended for infants in specific situations wear glasses will not work. After a comprehensive eye and vision exam, I will discuss contacts carefully with the parents and the process should only begin when they have a clear understanding of the risks and benefits of infant contact lens wear.
The benefits include:
· Improved vision with contacts
· Improved conditions for proper visual development
· Increased compliance when undergoing patching (occlusion) therapy
The risks are:
· Can be time consuming and stressful to insert and remove
· Possibility of irritation requiring removal of contact during the day
· Increased level of responsibility and care needed to monitor eyes
· Possibility of infection or ulcer of the eye, especially if proper lens hygiene not followed
Important information to know before we begin:
· Contact lenses must be removed every night for cleaning.
· It will be difficult at first to insert and remove the lens. This can be a two-person job.
· The contact lenses are custom made and may be expensive to replace if lost or damaged.
If you are a parent that has an infant or young children in contact lenses, the yahoo group Aphakic is a truly wonderful resource that I encourage you to check out. If you do need contacts for your child, inform yourself as much as possible and ask lots of questions of your eye doctor to make sure he or she is comfortable with the process.
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care and Bright Eyes Kids
Located in the Westchase area and New Tampa.