Many of my young patients ask about contact lenses. Parents want to know how old their child must be to wear lenses, but it’s not so much about age. Children need a certain level of maturity to master placing and removing contact lenses as well as following guidelines for proper CL wear. When you think your child is ready to try contact lenses, we can start the process of fitting the lenses. A proper fit is critical. This is only the beginning of the contact lens journey, however, as children need to learn when not to wear lenses and how to meticulously care for their eyes with regard to lens wear. Improper use or cleaning of contact lenses can lead to corneal disease, eye pain and loss of vision.
Getting contact lenses usually requires two visits. The first is a fitting and a chance for your child to see if the lenses are really desired. If all goes well with the fitting, we will order a supply of lenses and have your child return to learn insertion, removal, and cleaning techniques. At least one follow up visit is advised and possibly more if your child is having problems with contact lens wearing.
When a good fit is determined and the first set of contact lenses is dispensed at my office, a contact lens prescription with an expiration date will be provided to you. Per Maryland law the prescription is good for 2 years, however, children’s eyes change rapidly, and your child will most likely need a new prescription yearly. Lenses cannot be purchased without a prescription.
CONTACT LENS REPLACEMENT POLICIES
This brings us to the question of where and how to purchase and replace contact lenses after the initial fitting. Contacts can be purchased only with an up to date prescription after a contact lens evaluation. The following summarizes the contact lens replacement policies of this office:
Patients who purchase contact lenses from Dr. Hutcheon can order lenses by calling or emailing the office anytime and can expect in most cases to receive the contacts in a timely fashion. If you choose, replacement lenses will be mailed directly to your house if prepaid including postage. The cost of the lenses covers the office care involved if there is a change in lens power, brand, or if there is a problem with the lenses purchased from our office. There is no separate contact lens evaluation fee at the time of the routine eye examination. As our customer, there are other benefits such as obtaining samples to hold your child over until the next eye examination. Our contact lens fees are quite competitive.
For those patients seeking to purchase contact lenses elsewhere, you will need to pay for a contact lens evaluation when the prescription expires or when your child’s eyes outgrow the current prescription. This evaluation is a separate billable service performed in addition to the complete eye examination and may even need to be scheduled on a separate day. Please call the office to learn the current fee for a contact lens evaluation. To avoid any confusion, we request that you let us know prior to the eye examination if you will be purchasing contact lenses elsewhere.
It is very important that you understand that if you try to get contact lenses through a warehouse and your child has not been seen in over 2 years, the lenses will not be dispensed. The “800 CL” companies or warehouses are required by law to verify the date of the prescription with my office. In fact then, the only way you can get contacts after the expiration date is to contact my office directly, and we will help you.