Myopia is not only bad and harmful for the health of the eyes but it is undeniably a huge burden in a child’s life. Having myopia means a lifetime dependence on either spectacles or contact lenses in order to see clearly.
At a glance, childhood myopia appears to be an easy condition to treat. We usually take our child to visit the nearest optometrist to get a pair of spectacles or contact lenses prescribed for immediate restoration of clear vision. However, these methods are not without their own fair share of problems. Some of these drawbacks are even medically disadvantageous.
Let’s take a look at the drawbacks of wearing spectacles and contact lenses.
The Tale of Spectacle Woes
There are several issues with wearing spectacles, some of which are even unfamiliar to parents.
- Wearing spectacles shrinks our field of vision
- The use of spectacles causes our field of vision to become unnatural and constricted, especially with high-powered glasses. Also, with high power lenses, objects viewed will appear smaller by up to 10% or more. This is especially disadvantageous when it comes to participating in sporting activities.
- Prismatic optical distortions leading to headaches, etc.
- The concave lenses used for myopia correction are thin in the middle and thick on the edges. Other than being unsightly, this actually induces prismatic optical distortions when looking sideways or when the glasses are ill aligned, leading to unnatural complaints of spectacle wear intolerance like headaches.
- Negative effects of aesthetics and self-confidence
- Adolescent children are usually very concerned about their appearance and how they are perceived by their peers. Thicker spectacle lenses cause the eyes to look unflatteringly small, hence children might feel unattractive and “nerdy”. This can ultimately affect their self-confidence. As a result, some children avoid wearing glasses, which have potentially harmful ramifications for their eyes – because they are unable to see clearly without their spectacles on, they will squint and strain their eyes more than usual.
- Inconvenience of glasses
- Glasses are not the most convenient things to live with. They weigh on and slip down the nose, leaving marks and dents on the nose bridge and temples. Lenses fog up easily as the wearer enters areas with difference temperatures and humidity. Moreover, the pursuit of many sporting and outdoor activities is often hindered by the reliance on spectacles.
- Handle with care
- Additionally, spectacles are rather fragile. They spoil and bend out of shape rather easily, especially in the hands of young children who are not necessarily the best candidates when it comes to taking care of their things.
- Heavy dependence on glasses
- Furthermore, in the unfortunate case that a child misplaces his/her glasses, having no spare glasses around can render him/her temporarily ‘blind’ and ‘handicapped’, causing much inconvenience.
The Tale of Contact Lens Woes
On the other hand, some parents opt to put their children on contact lens prescriptions as an alternative to glasses. However, contact lens wear is not without complications. This is especially so as not all children practice good hygiene and are more prone to allergies and infections.
- Great care is required from parents and children
- A lot of attention needs to be paid into the daily routine of putting on, removing and disinfecting of the contact lenses, all of which have a strict process that the child will need to correctly adhere to. There are also many rules that accompany contact lens wear, such as not rubbing the eyes and not sleeping with the lenses on.
- Unsuitable nature of kids
- Considering the playful and impatient nature of kids, contact lenses may not be the safest option for our kids as they have a higher tendency of having a lazy approach to the routines of proper contact lens usage.
- Parents might not always be around to supervise
- It is not possible for most parents to constantly be with their child to supervise and their actions when it comes to contact lenses. Especially when their child is at school, not having a parent to remind and make sure they wash their hands regularly and do not rub their eyes, can easily lead to infections or other complications.
- Medical side effects
- In addition, long hours of daily contact lens wear over the years can take its toll on the eyes. The earlier a child begins to wear contact lenses, the heavier the toll on the eyes and the higher the risk of complications in the long run. There is also the issue of contact lens intolerance that can lead to complications such as corneal ulcers. This is a major drawback to contact lens reliance.
- Contact lenses are expensive
- Last but not least, contact lens prescriptions over the year can accumulate to huge costs, depending on your child’s eye condition, brand of contacts and type (astigmatism, coloured, oxygen permeable, etc.). The following table displays a rough estimation of different types of contact lens prescriptions annually and over a period of 10-years.
|Type of contact lens||Monthly Use||Bi-Weekly Use||Daily Use|
$38/box x 2 eyes x 2
$53/box x 2 eyes x 4
$56/box x 2 eyes x 12
$95/box x 2 eyes x 2
$69/box x 2 eyes x 4
$69/box x 2 eyes x 12
|Total Cost After 10 Years||$1520 – $3380||$4240 – $5520||$13,440 – $16,560|