Today, eye doctors are prescribing contact lenses for kids who are still in elementary school. These youngsters commonly experience fewer complications with contacts than young college students because it’s easier to train the younger children on how to use and care for their lenses. Still, a lot depends on factors other than age when determining which kids make the best candidates. If you’re starting to consider contact lenses for your child or teen, but not sure if they are responsible or old enough for contacts yet, we can offer you some suggestions to consider.

Most importantly, make an eye doctor appointment for your child’s annual eye exam where you can mention his or her interest in contact lenses. Your eye doctor will assess your child’s eye health and will determine what type of vision correction is best for your child.

If your eye doctor agrees that contacts would be a good correction option, here are four signs you should think about when considering contact lenses for your child or teen:

1Drive – The first question a parent needs to ask is, ‘Does my child want to wear contacts?’ The drive to wear contacts lenses should come from your child, not from you. Contact lenses can greatly affect a young person’s self-esteem, so it is common for kids and teens to have an interest in contact lenses. Some kids feel self-conscious in glasses. For these kids, contacts lenses may help them feel better about their appearance. And those who are active in sports can benefit from the advantage’s contacts have over eyeglasses (more on that below). If your child’s interest in contact lenses is motivated by improved athletic performance or enhanced self-confidence, these drivers can help make your child a good candidate for contacts.

2. Responsibility – Look at how your child behaves in other parts of their life when considering contact lenses. Does your child take responsibility for their personal belongings, homework, glasses, and other items? Let’s be honest, maturity can’t always be measured by age. Some kids demonstrate signs of responsibility and maturity at the young age of eight, others may not match that level until age 12 or 13.  If your child needs to be constantly reminded of good grooming habits and organizational skills, they may need some more time before they become good candidates.

3. Cleanliness – Hygiene tends to be a bigger priority when a child or teen is determined to wear contact lenses. Some kids who are unhappy with glasses are going to be a lot more motivated to take care of contact lenses. But if you’re not confident that your child will clean and store contact lenses safely, talk to the doctor about CooperVision® daily disposables, such as MyDay® or clariti® 1 day. These lenses get thrown out every night and kids put on a fresh, clean pair in the morning.

4. Activities and Lifestyle – If your child or teen plays sports, spends a lot of time outdoors, or often loses their glasses, contact lenses are great option. When playing sports, contact lenses work because you don’t have to worry about glasses slipping, and they facilitate protective eyewear and sunglasses.