Seeing the benefits
How contact lenses can improve the quality of life for young wearers
15 January 2021
Feedback from young patients tells us that contact lenses give them a sense of freedom to do the activities that they want to do, to not have to think twice about what they are doing, and to be themselves.
These benefits can be appreciated regardless of age, for instance, being able to fully embrace any physical activity – from jumping on a trampoline to playing football – without the restriction of spectacles. Several studies have explored the impact that spectacles and contact lenses can have on a child’s quality of life; let’s take a look at these below.
It is not surprising, therefore, that contact lenses can significantly improve the quality of life of children and teenagers. The Contact Lenses in Paediatrics (CLIP) study refitted 169 children and teens (aged eight to 12 and 13 to 17 years, respectively) from spectacles to contact lenses for three months of wear and examined quality of life using a questionnaire. On average, the children and teenagers were wearing their contact lenses for about 11 hours per day. Quality of life significantly increased over the three months with 71% of children and 79% of teenagers preferring their contact lenses over spectacles. Taking this into account, practitioners can be confident that contact lenses are as beneficial for the quality of life of children as they are for their teenage patients, since the two age groups experienced improvements in the same aspects and to the same degree. Improvements in quality of life were not affected by age, gender, ethnicity, satisfaction with spectacles, family use of contact lenses, or refractive error.
Practitioners can be confident that contact lenses are as beneficial for the quality of life of children as they are for their teenage patients, since the two age groups experienced improvements in the same aspects and to the same degree
In addition, contact lenses are far more convenient than spectacles for playing sports. Contact lenses give kids the freedom to be active instead of worrying about breaking their spectacles and causing a related eye injury. The CLIP study found that, after a contact lens fitting, the proportion of children and teens failing to use vision correction during sports dropped from 21% to just 4%. Equally, contact lenses may make being active more enjoyable by providing a better visual experience than spectacles. Unlike spectacles, contact lenses provide clear vision across the whole visual field and remain stable on the eye while running, providing stable vision. Additionally, contact lenses don’t fog up like spectacle lenses. The CLIP study reported that about 60% of children and teens felt that their sporting performance was improved by contact lenses.
Easy to apply
A two-year trial with MiSight® 1 day contact lenses also reported significant improvements in quality of life compared to spectacles. The study gave a questionnaire to 74 children fitted with either MiSight® 1 day or singlevision spectacles. Children who wore MiSight® 1 day lenses gave significantly higher ratings than spectacles wearers for symptoms, appearance, satisfaction, effect on activities and peer perceptions.
Children can be just as capable as adults at wearing and handling contact lenses; they are fast learners and, after a little time, wearing contact lenses can become second nature. A three-year trial of MiSight® 1 day lenses reported that, on average, children wore contact lenses for over six and a half days per week for 13 hours per day during the week and 12 hours per day at the weekend. Furthermore, throughout the three years, nearly all children reported that they did not notice or only sometimes noticed their contact lenses. For most children, they found it easy to apply contact lenses within a month of starting and almost all children found lens removal easy from the first week of wear.
About the authorKrupa Patel is head of professional services for CooperVision UK & Ireland
CooperVision would like to acknowledge and thank Nathan Greenaway at Visioncare Research Limited for their support with this article.
More Practice team resources: Contact lenses for younger patients
Your contact lenses for younger patients resources guide
Are contact lenses safe for children?
Refraction changes in children
On the front line
Application and removal without the tears and tantrums
Cases from practice
Introducing contact lenses to kids
Contact lenses for younger patients: a guide for every practice