At What Age Are Contacts Safe for Kids to Wear?

Many parents wonder when it’s safe for their child to start wearing contacts. A study called the Contact Lenses in Pediatrics (CLIP) study that was conducted in 2008 found that children as young as 8 years old are capable of properly inserting, removing and caring for contact lenses and had no increased risk of contact lens-related eye problems compared with teenagers enrolled in the study.

Also, 83 percent of children ages 8 to 12 in the CLIP study said contact lenses were easy to take care of, and 92 percent chose to continue wearing contacts at the conclusion of the study.

Results from another study suggest contact lenses may have an additional benefit for young children — they may boost self-esteem.

A total of 484 children ages 8 to 11 were enrolled in the Child Health Initiative to Encourage Vision Empowerment (ACHIEVE) study and were randomly assigned to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses for a period of three years. The study was conducted between September 2003 and October 2007 at five clinical centers in the United States.

At the end of the study period, all the children completed questionnaires that assessed their self-perceptions in a number of areas. Results suggested children’s self-perceptions of their physical appearance, athletic competence and social acceptance are likely to improve with contact lens wear.