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Contact Lens Wear Improves How Children and Teens Feel About Their Appearance, Participation in Activities, Clinical Study Shows


Compared to glasses, contact lens wear significantly improves how children and teenagers feel about their appearance and participation in activities a newly published study shows. These quality of life improvement measures following a switch from glasses to contacts indicate that children eight to 12 years of age who require vision correction should be given the option of being fitted with contact lenses say study investigators. Researchers reported the results of the study in the November issue of Eye & Contact Lens, the official publication of the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists.

Teenagers are frequently fitted with contact lenses to correct refractive errors by eye care practitioners, but children younger than 13 are generally not given the option of contact lens wear, often because eye care practitioners or parents believe that children don’t have the maturity to properly care for them.

“Children as young as eight years old who need vision correction are as capable as teenagers at wearing and caring for soft contact lenses and should be presented with the option of contact lens wear when vision correction is required,” says Jeffrey J. Walline, O.D., Ph.D., from the Ohio State University College of Optometry and study leader of The Contact Lens in Pediatrics (CLIP) Study. “This research demonstrates that both children and teens derive a number of quality of life benefits from contact lenses, which leads to greater satisfaction with their vision correction.”

“Contact lenses often provide a more convenient mode of correction for young wearers and this study demonstrates that both children and teens can adapt to contact lens wear and derive similar benefits,” adds Mary Lou French, O.D., F.A.A.O., M.Ed, a private practitioner in Orland Park, IL. “With a wide variety of contact lenses available, eye care practitioners can work with young patients and their parents to determine what modality best fits each child’s personality, maturity and lifestyle.”

About the Study

The CLIP Study is the first clinical investigation to compare children and teens using silicone hydrogel contact lenses. The study compared the function and quality of life benefits of silicone hydrogel contact lenses among first-time wearers ages eight to 12 and 13 to 17.

Children ages 8-12 (n =84) and teenagers ages 13-17 (n=85) who participated in the study required vision correction to see optimally. Fifty-seven percent of the subjects were female and 48 percent were white. Following baseline examinations, participants were initially fitted with either ACUVUE® ADVANCE® Brand Contact Lenses with HYDRACLEAR™ or ACUVUE® ADVANCE® for ASTIGMATISM.

Participants completed the Pediatric Refractive Error Profile (PREP) survey at the baseline visit, while wearing glasses, and at the one-week and one-month visits while wearing contact lenses. The PREP survey compares the vision-specific quality of life between children wearing contact lenses and children wearing glasses. PREP scores are calculated on a scale that ranges from zero (poor quality of life) to 100 (excellent quality of life).

The mean overall PREP for glasses score was similar for both groups – 63.6 ±10.7 for children and 63.0 ± 9.8 for teens (p=0.12). Likewise, both groups reported similar PREP scores for contact lenses. The children’s overall PREP score for contact lenses at one-week was 74.7 ± 10.4 and the teens’ average score was 71.8 ± 9.2 (p=0.10). At one month, children’s overall PREP for contact lenses score was 74.5 ± 9.6 and teens’ average score was 72.1 ± 8.7 (p=0.23). “The data show that children and teens perceive similar improvement in their quality of life when wearing contact lenses versus glasses,” says Dr. Walline.

Participants were also asked questions apart from the PREP, like how they felt about wearing contact lenses during sporting activities; 95.9 percent of children and 92.6 percent of teens said they “loved” or “liked” to wear contact lenses during sports. When asked about their sporting performance, 58.9 percent of children and 62 percent of teens felt their performance was “much better” or “better” while wearing contact lenses.

When asked which they liked better (or equally), 71.2 percent of children and 78.5 percent of teens said that they liked wearing contact lenses “a little better” or “a lot better” than glasses. Children said that they “always” or “usually” liked to wear their contact lenses 76.7 percent of the time, and teens reported the same 85.2 percent of the time. After three months of contact lens wear, each group wore their contact lenses on average 11 hours per day.

Other study parameters examined included short-term safety, vision correction, fitting and training time, and a series of questionnaires completed by patients and their parents. The three-month study was conducted at three sites – the Ohio State University College of Optometry, the New England College of Optometry and the University of Houston School of Optometry. The study was sponsored by Vistakon®, Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.


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