To determine whether contact lens wear affects children’s self-perceptions.
The Adolescent and Child Health Initiative to Encourage Vision Empowerment Study was a randomized, single-masked trial conducted at five clinical centers in the United States. Subjects were 8- to 11-year-old myopic children randomly assigned to wear spectacles (n = 237) or soft contact lenses (n = 247) for 3 years. The primary endpoint was the Self-Perception Profile for Children Global Self-Worth scale. Secondary outcomes included the Physical Appearance, Athletic Competence, Scholastic Competence, Behavioral Conduct, and Social Acceptance Self-Perception Profile for Children scales.
Global self-worth was not affected by contact lens wear [analysis of variance (ANOVA), difference = 0.06; 95% CI, −0.004 to 0.117]. Physical appearance (ANOVA, difference = 0.15; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.22), athletic competence (ANOVA, difference = 0.08; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.15), and social acceptance (ANOVA, difference = 0.10; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.17) were all greater for contact lens wearers.
Although contact lens wear does not affect global self-perceptions of 8- to 11-year-old myopic children their physical appearance, athletic competence, and social acceptance self-perceptions are likely to improve with contact lens wear. Eye care practitioners should consider the social and visual benefits of contact lens wear when choosing the most appropriate vision correction modality for children as young as 8 years of age.