Contact lenses for younger patients: a guide for every practice
Introducing: OT ’s guide to contact lenses for younger patients for the whole practice team
11 January 2021
Over the coming days, OT will be publishing a series of CPD articles focusing on children and contact lenses.
Welcome, by Dr Ian Beasley
Contact lens patients are the lifeblood for many practices. They provide a steady revenue stream for the business and are the ‘regulars’ that help to build the community feel within the practice. In my experience, the familiar faces of these contact lens wearers are usually perched on the shoulders of adults rather than children, which begs the question: are we doing enough to proactively offer contact lenses to our younger patients?
Dr Ian Beasley, AOP head of education
As a dad to two teenagers, I can understand why parents (and to some extent practitioners) may be reluctant for their precious cherubs to start poking their eyes with a grubby index finger. But are we making assumptions about the risks of children wearing contact lenses? And, have we considered the benefits that contact lenses can bring to the active, savvy, image conscious youth?
In my experience of fitting children with contact lenses, I am frequently taken aback at how well they seem to get on with the task in hand, often creating a lot less fuss than, shall we say, men of a certain age. I can recall many instances where contact lenses have made a lifechanging difference to children, either by helping with their confidence or allowing them to embrace boisterous activities.
Despite the success stories of children enjoying the freedom that contact lenses bring, we should always be mindful that they require a level of responsibility.
I can recall many instances where contact lenses have made a life-changing difference to children
Taking all of the above into account, the content within this guide shares tips for growing contact lens uptake among children, highlighting the benefits and risks of wear, along with tips to help make the process a smooth and successful one.
Dr Ian Beasley is an optometrist, researcher, clinical editor of Optometry Today, and head of education for the Association of Optometrists
Meeting your team’s CPD needs
What you will learn
Contact lenses form an integral part of the daily routine for most practices, and optical assistants are a key component in managing the many touchpoints that are required for these patients. From scheduling aftercares, ordering replacement lenses and teaching patients how to handle and care for their lenses, the tasks are numerous. This guide will help the reader to identify the opportunities to deliver the benefits of contact lenses to younger wearers. Our experts offer guidance on how to start the conversation with potential patients, as well as recognise the scenarios where they can be a useful alternative to spectacle correction. Insight from research will help to put the risks and benefits of contact lens wear in children into context, and provide advice on how best to manage the needs of these patients – and, of course, their parents.
- How to open up the conversation
- Recognise scenarios for contact lens wear
- Drawing insight from the research.
Four simple tips for every practice team:
1. Think of six different scenarios where contact lenses could improve the quality of life for children
2. Take a look through the appointment diary over the next week and identify some of the younger patients where you think contact lenses would be of benefit to them. Talk to your optometrist about potential contact lens options that would meet the needs of these children
3. Try striking up the conversation with parents and their children about trying contact lenses, using the insight our CPD content provides on the risks and benefits
4. Try out our vision simulator to get a feel for what a patient’s uncorrected vision is like at different levels of myopia. Then think about how this might affect children taking part in activities where it is impractical to wear glasses safely.
Upcoming articles in this series:
- Introducing contact lenses to kids: How to open the contact lens conversation
- Cases from practice: Experiences of fitting children with contact lenses in High Street independent practice
- Application and removal without the tears and tantrums: Getting younger patients to successfully handle their contact lenses
- Seeing the benefits: How contact lenses can improve the quality of life for young wearers
- On the front line: A staff nurse's guide to carrying out a contact lens teach
- Refraction changes in children: Outlining how refraction changes during childhood
- Are contact lenses safe for children? The track record of contact lens safety in young wearers
- Your resources guide: Contact lens resources for patients and parents.