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Contact lenses

Contact lenses are an alternative to glasses. They are safe to use with the correct guidance and may be the best treatment option for your child.

Will my child be uncomfortable wearing contact lenses?

There are different types of contact lenses. The first lenses that will be fitted to your child’s eyes will usually be soft. The lenses are soft because they contain water.

Lenses become comfortable very quickly as children’s eyes adapt much quicker than adults.

How long can my child keep the contact lenses in for?

The lenses are made of a special material that can stay in your child’s eyes while they sleep.

However there is a risk of infection if the lenses are kept in every day without removing them for cleaning and to give your child’s eyes a chance rest. Please refer to this resource for how to clean contact lenses.

Try to remove the lenses every night. If this is not possible, the lenses must be removed at least once per week and you should aim to build up to removing them daily. Some children cannot tolerate their lenses staying in overnight and they may become red by morning. If this happens, you must remove their lenses every day.

You do not have to remove them while your child naps during the day.

If at any time the eye looks red, watery, half closed or just “not right” or if your child becomes photophobic (sensitive to light), remove the lens and seek advice immediately. There may be danger of loss of sight.

Can wearing contact lenses cause any problems?

There can be some problems with wearing contact lenses.

Your eye’s tears have a natural antibiotic called lysozyme. This stops many minor infections in the eye from becoming major ones. When a contact lens is placed in the eye it dilutes the effect of the lysozyme and so increases the risk of infection.

Contact lenses acts like a polythene bag and reduces the amount of oxygen that normally reaches the eye. Children who have had cataracts removed will need thicker contact lenses which reduce the amount of oxygen to the eye. Some eyes might react to overnight wear by becoming sore and sensitive to light.

That is why it is important to remove the lenses at night whenever possible. If the lenses are left in overnight, when your baby wakes up you may notice that both eyes are red, sticky, watery or difficult to open especially in the light.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you must remove the contact lens immediately and contact the eye department or seek medical advise.

What happens if I drop the contact lens?

If you drop the contact lens onto a clean surface, rinse it with contact lens cleaning solution before putting it into your child’s eyes.

If you drop the contact lens onto an unclean surface throw the lens away and start with a new one.

How do I put in and take out contact lens?

Please refer to this resource to learn how to put in and take out contact lenses.

Things to remember

  • Always wash your hands before handling lenses and touching your child’s eyes. Please refer to this resource for how to properly wash your hands before handling contact lenses.
  • Make sure that you nails are short to minimise the risk of injury to your child’s eye when putting in and taking out their contact lenses.
  • Look out for signs of infection, such as red, sticky or watery eyes and contact the eye department immediately if you are not sure.
  • Always carefully follow the instructions for contact lens solutions.
  • Never use saliva (spit) or tap water to rinse or clean lenses.
  • Please order more contact lenses from us before you run out.
  • If using a 2-step contact lens cleaning solution. Never insert a contact lens in the eye unless you are sure it has been neutralised.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Lens Team on 0114 271 7481 during office hours. If you need to contact someone out of hours, please call Emergency A&E on 0114 271 7000.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: EYE10

Resource Type: Article

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Please contact the eye department on 0114 271 7468.


Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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