PREP scores suggested that the children and teens were more satisfied with wearing contact lenses than with wearing glasses: scores rose from 65 (pre-contact lens wear) to 74.5 for children, and from 63 (pre-contact lens wear) to 73 for teens.
"The biggest boosts were in terms of satisfaction with their correction and also with participation in activities," Walline said. "Children and teens reported that it was much easier to engage in sports, dancing and other activities while wearing contact lenses."
The researchers noted that there was little change in participants' feelings toward their own appearance, nor did peer perceptions seem to change dramatically once a child or teen began wearing contact lenses.
"Vanity doesn't seem to be a factor in children's or teens' satisfaction with switching to contact lenses," Walline said.
Children wore their lenses almost as long as teens parents reported that their children wore the contact lenses about 10.5 hours a day, while teens wore their lenses about 11.5 hours each day.
The soft disposable contact lenses used in this study, along with the necessary cleaning solutions, can cost roughly $260 a year, said Walline. Since children's and teens' vision can change very fast, such lenses are typically sold in a six-month supply. Adults can buy a one-year supply.
Walline and his colleagues are currently analyzing data gathered from the study participants after three months of wearing the contact lenses. Although that data isn't included in this presentation, Walline said the findings are very similar to what he and his colleagues found at the one-month point.
"Children are very capable of taking care of contact lenses on their own," he said.
In related work, Walline and his colleagues found that optometrists initially spend about 14 minutes longer fitting a child with contact lenses and teaching him how to insert
Contact: Jeffrey Walline
Ohio State University