There are all kinds of reasons why kids might prefer to wear contact lenses instead of glasses. Maybe your child is self-conscious about the way glasses make him look, or maybe he simply wears such a strong prescription that the lenses of his eyeglasses are impossibly thick and heavy. Whatever the reason, if you and your child have come to the decision together that he will start wearing contacts, both of you should be prepared for the commitment that is involved. Learning how to put in contacts can be a difficult process for adults, and children have the added challenge provided by the fact that their fine motor skills aren’t completely developed. If you help your child get used to putting his contacts in each morning, however, he will soon find that it isn’t as much of an ordeal as he (or you) might expect.
Start By Touching The Eye
Putting a contact lens into your eye is probably one of the most counterintuitive maneuvers that anyone can perform. While you have gone your whole life blinking to try to avoid anything from touching and injuring your sensitive eyeballs, suddenly you are expected to place a foreign object in your eye such that it stays there for the entire day. To get your child used to this idea, therefore, you first have to train her to momentarily forget everything she thought she knew about touching her eyes. The first exercise you should perform together will try to modify the blinking reflex. Have your child wash her hands thoroughly and then stand or sit in front of a mirror. Now, have her hold her eyelids open with the fingers on her non-dominant hand while she brings the pad of her dominant index finger close to her eye. Instruct her to very gently touch the white of her eye with her finger and hold it there for a few seconds. Unlike the sensitive cornea, touching the white part of her eye shouldn’t cause any pain. Once she can do this several times without getting the urge to blink, she should be able to move on to a contact lens.
Examine the Lens
One of the worst parts about trying to put in contact lenses when you are just starting out is determining whether the lens is in the correct position or if it’s inside-out. Teach your child how to tell if a lens is facing the right way, and you will quickly eliminate some of the stress associated with putting them in. Remember that a lens in the correct orientation will have a purely concave shape. An inverted lens, however, will appear to flare out around the edges. Another test is to try pinching the lens in half. When in its correct position, a folded lens will usually stick to itself like a taco. Inverted lenses, however, will usually flip over and stick to your finger rather than holding a folded shape.
Put on a Smiley Face
Despite how stressed out you may get while watching your child trying to put in his contact lenses, you should never let it show. Children are very good at sensing stress from their parents and will often get more worked up about the process if they know it’s making you uncomfortable. Don’t let on how much you had to pay for the lenses or your child will become extra self-conscious if a lens should happen to tear or get lost. Remember that lenses are always replaceable, and they can be found for much cheaper if you buy contact lenses online. Making your child fear putting in his contacts, however, will likely cause anxiety that it will be hard to reverse.
Now that you know how to help your child learn how to put in his contacts, you can be well on your way to having him master the process. Once you have done your part, however, you should know when to step back and leave him to it. Realize that the first few days may be hard, but that muscle-memory will quickly kick in, and your little one will be wearing contacts like a pro in no time.
Elizabeth Garvey is a family counselor. She loves writing about easy ways that parents can help their kids on parenting blogs. She recommends Next day Contact Lenses to buy contact lenses online.