Should Your Teen Wear Contacts?

Contact Lens Safety Information for Teens

With contact lens care now easier and more convenient than ever before, wearing contacts has become more of a possibility for teens, preteens, and even some children. Most eye care professionals agree that by age 13, even as early as age 11, most eyes have developed enough for contact lenses. An eye exam will confirm whether contacts should be worn or not. If you are considering allowing your teenager to wear contacts, here are a few things to think about.

mother and teenage daughter
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There really isn't a perfect age to start wearing contacts. Kids mature at different rates. When considering contacts, think about your child's level of responsibility. Wearing contact lenses requires a good deal of responsibility. Properly cleaning and caring for lenses is essential for maintaining eye health and reducing your chance of developing eye infections. If your child is capable of following detailed instructions without needing reminders, he is probably ready for the responsibility of wearing contacts.


Make sure your teen wants to wear contacts. Teenagers are notorious for giving in to peer pressure. Does she really want the responsibility that comes with wearing contacts? Or is she being influenced by her contact-wearing friends? Maybe he is embarrassed to wear eyeglasses. Talking seriously about the possible risks of contacts may be enough to make your teen have second thoughts.


Most teenagers are self-conscious about their appearance. Wearing a pair of eyeglasses may make them feel unattractive or unaccepted. Wearing contact lenses can help teenagers feel more self-confident about their appearance. They may feel as if they "fit in" better without glasses in front of their eyes.


Today contact lenses are designed to be comfortable to wear. Your teenager may wonder if it will hurt to wear contacts, but most people find them completely painless. An eye doctor will teach your teen how to properly insert and remove their contacts.


Contact lenses may be safer than eyeglasses for teenagers. Unlike glasses, they are unlikely to be damaged while participating in sports. Also, if a sport requires polycarbonate safety goggles, it is much easier and more comfortable to wear them over contact lenses than over eyeglasses. Contacts also don't fog up or distort vision as glasses often do.


The cost of wearing contacts varies widely, depending on the brand and how often the lenses must be replaced. Disposable lenses are popular with parents because they don't require any cleaning supplies or lens cases. Many eye doctors feel that daily disposable contacts are the best vision correction option for most teens because they are tossed in the trash at the end of each day, greatly reducing the chance of developing an infection. Parents should remember, however, that a backup pair if eyeglasses is always recommended.


There are a few advantages of wearing contact lenses.

  • Contacts won't get in the way during sports, dancing, or other activities.
  • There are no rims to interfere with side, or peripheral, vision.
  • Contacts won't steam up or slide down your nose during activity.
  • Contacts eliminate the annoying pressure behind your ears caused by glasses.
  • Contact lenses can change your eye color.

Important Rules

Make sure your teenager understands that wearing contacts requires safe and responsible behavior. Here are a few important rules to discuss.

  • Follow your eye doctor's instructions for caring for and wearing your contacts.
  • Tell your parents if your eyes become irritated by the contacts or if your vision becomes unclear.
  • Be careful not to accidentally tear or lose your contacts.
  • Never swap contact lenses with another person.
  • Schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor.

By Troy Bedinghaus, OD
Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.