Contact lenses for kids

Paediatric eye surgery in the United States has taken a step-forward in the treatment of young children with severe vision problems. They believe that the issuing of contact lenses to children as young as one-month-old with vision problems will benefit those who have had cataract surgery, need two different prescriptions in their eyes or very high-strength glasses. Doctors believe that by treating the problems as early as possible, it will reduce any problems later on in their lives.

One of the leading directors of this campaign the “Contact Lens Program”, Dr. Natalia Uribe, of Los Angeles, explains that until the age of 8 a child’s visual system in connection with their brain is not fully developed. Therefore, by attempting to correct their sight from a very early stage will enable this visual pathway to develop correctly. Dr. Uribe’s clinic, The Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is rapidly growing with over 700 young patients entering their doors this year alone. She continues to suggest that contact lenses are much more beneficial than glasses as they create the most “normal” vision allowing the brain to develop properly. As opposed to having glasses with one lens thicker than the other for children with only one eye being affected by a medical condition, a contact lens can be fitted into the damaged eye, leaving the healthy eye alone.

Some people may feel that the issuing of contact lenses as young as one month old is an expensive form of vision correction compared to glasses, as each contact lens prescription can cost anywhere from $100-300. Equally, with the rapid growth rate of young children they will need several different prescriptions a year. Dr. Uribe argues against this suggesting it is much more beneficial for their vision not just as a young child but later on as an adult. With regard to cost she claims the contact lenses are deemed a medical necessity not a cosmetic one, so insurance should generally cover the cost. However she also adds that cosmetically the contact lenses can benefit children from playground teasing that can normally occur with glasses.

24th December 2009

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