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Help Your Teen or Tween Athlete Switch to Contact Lenses With These Tips

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As your child gets older, sports become more competitive and arguably include more physical contact. Two five-year-olds battling over the ball in a football match aren't likely to be nearly as rough as two teens in the same situation. If your child has been wearing glasses, it may be worthwhile to consider changing to contacts as they get older. To help ease the transition from glasses to contacts, take a look at these tips:

1. Consider hybrid contact lenses.

For the last few decades, soft lenses have become the norm amongst wearers of contact lenses, but surprisingly, gas permeable lenses offer a range of benefits, especially for athletes. In particular, gas permeable lenses hold their shape, giving your child a sharper view of the playing pitch, court or field. These lenses also don't absorb tears, reducing incidences of dry eyes.

However, gas permeable lenses, a type of hard lenses, tend to be smaller than soft lenses, and as a result, they may get knocked out of your child's eyes more easily. Luckily, there is a solution: hybrid lenses. These lenses offer the benefits of gas permeable lenses, but they also have a layer of soft lenses around them, making them bigger and more resistant to falling out. Your optometrist should be able to let your child try on soft, gas permeable and hybrid lenses so that they can figure out what they like the best.

2. Acclimate before the season starts.

Once you have honed in on the type of lenses that feel the best for your child, start the acclimation process early. Don't get your child contact lenses right before the start of football, cricket, rugby or whatever they are playing starts. Instead, get the lenses a couple weeks or even a few months before the season starts. That gives your child a chance to learn how to put the lenses in and out, and it allows your child to get used to the lenses slowly by wearing them for a few hours each day until they are ready to wear them full time.

3. Consider buying backup sport goggles.

In the event that your child comes down with an eye infection, develops an irritation or has another issue with their contact lenses, it can be useful to have an alternative. For day-to-day use, any pair of spectacles can work as your child's backup, but if your child has an issue with their lenses on a day when they have practice or a game, sport goggles can be very useful.

Goggles feature straps that make them difficult to knock off, and they also wrap around your child's face, improving their peripheral vision compared to regular glasses. However, while they work great as a backup option, they are not as good as using contact lenses whilst playing sports simply because they are prone to fogging up or getting scratched.

For more tips on helping your young athlete make the jump to contact lenses, contact your optometrist.