Overview

You could change a child's life

Proactively addressing the topic of contact lenses with your young patients and their parents gets easier with time. Providing the best options for patients and becoming comfortable doing so will benefit both them and your practice.

You could change a child's life

For example, with some patients, age may not be appropriate criteria when determining a child's readiness for contact lenses. As you know, there are some 10-year-olds who are more mature than some 15-year-olds. A patient centred approach – evaluating each child or teen according to their individual ocular health needs, lifestyles, maturity level and degree of parental support – will be key in your decision making process.

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Always rely on your professional expertise to judge each young patient's maturity level and the degree of parental support before deciding whether a child is a good candidate for contact lens wear and can follow your recommended wear and care instructions.

How to start the conversation

Offering kids & teens choices and opportunities

Presenting the option of contact lenses to your young patients and their parents is easier than you may think. Picking up on a child's inherent energy and enthusiasm will help you connect with them, and them with you.

Offering kids choices and opportunities

 

Here are some ideas to get the conversation started:

  • Pose a question as simple as: "Have you ever thought about wearing contact lenses?" when a child requires a refractive error correction. Even if the patient isn't ready yet, the question plants a seed for the future
  • If the patient plays sport, suggest the option of using contact lenses as a backup to, or replacement for glasses during these activities
  • If a child expresses interest in contact lenses, draw the parent into the conversation to ascertain their comfort level
  • Respect the opinion of the parent if he or she feels their child isn't ready for contact lenses. Offer them written information to take with them. Then, check in with them at their child's next visit

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Success stories

A group of optometrists share their experiences in fitting young patients with contact lenses.

View article from Contact Lens Spectrum

Always rely on your professional expertise to judge each young patient's maturity level and the degree of parental support before deciding whether a child is a good candidate for contact lens wear and can follow your recommended wear and care instructions.

Communication tips

Whilst some kids have to be drawn out, others will tell you everything about their life. Here are some tips to help you successful engage with a shy child or a chatterbox.

Communication tips

 

Make sure you talk to a child at their eye level. Sit down and have a conversation with them.

  • Pace your conversation according to the child's comfort level. If you normally speak quickly with your adult patients, try taking it down a notch for your younger patients – especially if they are anxious about trying contact lenses. If you are not engaging them, adjust your tempo accordingly
  • Give a child a contact lens to hold and examine. To emphasise good lens care, make sure their hands are clean prior to handling; if not, give them the opportunity to wash them
  • Consider scheduling several young patients back-to-back, especially if you are just starting to fit kids. This will accelerate your learning curve, both in fitting and interacting with them
  • After fitting a child or teen with contact lenses, reiterate the rules of proper lens care to help ensure compliance. Assure them that, if they follow the rules, they shouldn't have any problems
  • Relax! Enjoy the energy young patients bring to you, your staff and your practice

 

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