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Long-term Contact Lens Wear of Children and Teens

Walline, Jeffrey J. O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O.; Lorenz, Kathy Osborn O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.; Nichols, Jason J. O.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., F.A.A.O.

doi: 10.1097/ICL.0b013e318296792c

Objective: To compare current symptoms, compliance, ocular health, and previous adverse events between current successful long-term contact lens wearers fit as children or as teenagers.

Methods: People who had successfully worn soft contact lenses for at least 10 years completed an online survey about demographics, current wearing status, compliance, symptoms, and previous adverse events. A subset reported for a slit-lamp examination, autorefraction, autokeratometry, and specular microscopy. Statistical comparisons were made between those fit as children (12 years or younger) and those fit as teenagers (13 years or older).

Results: Of the 175 subjects completing the online survey, 86 (49.2%) were fit as children and 89 (50.8%) fit as teenagers. Those fit as children wore their contact lenses for an average of 14.8 ± 3.4 hours per day, compared with 14.7 ± 3.6 hours per day for those fit as teenagers (P=0.74). Eighteen (20.9%) fit as children and 17 (19.1%) fit as teenagers reported ever having had a painful, red eye that required a doctor visit (P=0.76). Overall, there were no differences in ocular health between the groups. Those fit as children were more myopic than those fit as teenagers (−4.30 ± 1.69 and −2.87 ± 2.75, respectively; P=0.02).

Conclusions: Successful contact lens wearers fit as children are no more likely to report previous contact lens–related adverse events, problems with compliance, decreased wearing time, or worse ocular health than those fit as teenagers, so practitioners should not use age as a primary determinant in fitting children in contact lenses.

The Ohio State University College of Optometry (J.J.W.), Columbus, OH; Johnson and Johnson Vision Care, Inc (K.O.L.), Jacksonville, FL; and University of Houston College of Optometry (J.J.N.), Houston, TX.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jeffrey J. Walline, O.D., Ph.D., 338 West Tenth Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210-1240; e-mail:

Supported by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

J.J.W. has no conflicts of interest to disclose. K.O.L. is an employee of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. J.J.N. has disclosures with Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. (research contracts, travel); Alcon (research contract, travel); and Allergan (research).

Accepted April 10, 2013

© 2013 Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists, Inc.