Optometrist answers to common questions about Teens and Vision:
My teenager’s eyesight seem to be getting worse every year. Is there anything I can do? Should they be wearing glasses all the time?
Depending on the prescription, your doctor will advise when glasses should be worn. This will vary based on type and degree of prescription, as well as the type of vision problem being treated. In terms of progressively worsening eyesight, this is most common in myopic (nearsighted) children. Myopia increases the risk of a number of eye diseases in adulthood, so myopia control strategies are important to consider.
My teenager spends hours on an iPad and playing video games, is this bad for their eyes?
Prolonged time spent focusing at near distances causes stress on the focusing system, and can also lead to dry eye disease due to a reduced blink rate. We suggest all ages follow the 20/20/20 rule: for every 20 minutes of ANY near point task, take a break for at least 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away. Modern LED screens also emit high-energy visible light (HEV) in the blue region of the spectrum. The lens of a young eye does not have the properties to block short wavelength blue light. Studies to date are inconclusive as to the long-term damage from this radiation, but there are now special coatings for eyeglasses that protect the eyes from this potential harm. You can read more about the Canadian Association of Optometrists recommended screen time for kids.
Are contact lenses safe? What age can by child start wearing contacts?
There is no age that is too young, provided they learn how to properly handle lenses and follow good hygiene practices. Today’s contact lenses are very comfortable and highly oxygen permeable for safe all-day wear. With daily disposable lenses, the risk of eye infections is thankfully now almost non-existent.
Our team will spend as long as needed to ensure your teen leaves with the skills and knowledge they need for healthy lens wear. Contact lenses are often preferable to eyeglasses for certain sports and activities where eyeglasses are likely to be a nuisance. You can also consider orthoK as it allows freedom from eyeglass wear during the day and can also slow down the progression of nearsightedness.