You are a teen (or pre-teen) with a vision problem that needs correction, but the thought of having to wear glasses turns you off. You would love to be able to wear contacts, but your parents may not think it’s a good idea. How do you convince them otherwise?
First, make sure your motivations for having contacts are practical. Peer pressure should not be an overriding factor in your decision. The argument “but all my friends wear them” is not a winning one in this case. Yes, contact lenses are ‘cool’, they make you look more attractive, and you won’t be called ‘four-eyes’, but more importantly they also allow you to better participate in sports and other activities, tend to bolster your self-esteem and give you more confidence in social interactions. Contact lenses also eliminate the obstruction to peripheral (or side) vision caused by eyeglass frames and make it less awkward when having to don sport or safety goggles. Improvements in technology and manufacture have made lenses more convenient and comfortable.
The major concern of parents is that their children may be too young for contacts. For many years, the prevailing notion was that the constant changes in kids’ eyes as they matured excluded them from wearing contact lenses until adulthood. This idea has been disproved in recent studies conducted with children ranging from 17 down to as young as eight being successfully fitted with contacts*. So now, ‘too young’ becomes less a matter about age and more about responsibility.
In this regard, you are dealing with the perception that young people are somewhat irresponsible, especially in cases where follow-through and continued diligence are necessary. The fact is people are able to assume responsibility at different ages, and this is to your advantage if you have shown mature behavior in the past. It is best to remember that contacts are medical devices, so you must be prepared to have more frequent visits with your eye doctor. Beyond initial fitting and instruction on how to insert and remove your contacts, there are appointments to monitor changes in your prescription and prevent possible problems concerning eye health. Obviously, your doctor’s instructions must be obeyed faithfully. Depending on what type of contact you wear, there are regimens for care and cleaning that are to be strictly followed. If you successfully prove your ability to make these adjustments, obtaining contacts will become much easier.
*CLIP (Contact Lenses in Pediatrics), jointly conducted by colleges of optometry in Ohio, Massachusetts, and Texas; and PREP (Pediatric Refractive Error Profile), a three-year study at five US clinical facilities.
Chelsea Francis is a research and marketing analyst for Contact Lens King. Contact Lens King retails contact lenses to the public at up to 70 percent savings.