Purpose. To determine the types of contact lenses prescribed for infants (aged 0 to 5 years), children (6 to 12 years), and teenagers (13 to 17 years) around the world.
Methods. Up to 1000 survey forms were sent to contact lens fitters in each of 38 countries between January and March every year for 5 consecutive years (2005 to 2009). Practitioners were asked to record data relating to the first 10 contact lens fits or refits performed after receiving the survey form.
Results. Data were received relating to 105,734 fits [137 infants, 1,672 children, 12,117 teenagers, and 91,808 adults (age ≥18 years)]. The proportion of minors (<18 year old) fitted varied considerably between nations, ranging from 25% in Iceland to 1% in China. Compared with other age groups, infants tend to be prescribed a higher proportion of rigid, soft toric, and extended wear lenses, predominantly as refits for full-time wear, and fewer daily disposable lenses. Children are fitted with the highest proportion of daily disposable lenses and have the highest rate of fits for part-time wear. Teenagers have a similar lens fitting profile to adults, with the main distinguishing characteristic being a higher proportion of new fits. Orthokeratology fits represented 28% of all contact lenses prescribed to minors.
Conclusions. Patterns of contact lens prescribing to infants and children are distinctly different to those of teenagers and adults in a number of respects. Clinicians can use the data presented here to compare their own patterns of contact lens prescribing to minors.