Calling all parents of young kids with contacts: request for experiences and advice

I’d been planning on doing a post on babies and young kids in contacts, since kids in contacts have been in the news recently.  Then earlier this week, this comment came in from Emam:

I came across this website when searching for tips on how to put on contact lenses for babies. My son Adyaan is 2 months old and he will have his cataracts removed on Saturday on 27 November 2010. He has been diagnosed with congenital cataracts due to rubella syndrome. After his eye surgery he would be on contact lenses of the highest power. As his parents we are indeed very scared of fixing his contact lenses for daily use. We are assuming we have to put eye drops in his eyes every day. We are scared of thinking that he will scream and cry and try to rip it off when you will not have any option but to be cruel with him and fix his contact lenses.

We don’t know how he would coup up with the contact lenses. His doctor prefers if possible Adyaan should be on contact lenses, either daily wear or extended wear, through out his life. Has anyone been through the same thing with contact lenses and found a better solution?

Any feedback or experience would be highly appreciated!

So for all you parents with babies or kids in contacts, care to leave any tips or advice?  I’d also love to hear what led you to get contacts for your kid, how easy or hard it was for your child to adjust, and how things are going now.

Thanks!

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8 responses to “Calling all parents of young kids with contacts: request for experiences and advice

  1. My little guy didn’t get his contacts until just before his first birthday, so it’s not quiet the same. But remember, like everything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. The first time we put his lenses in (at the doc’s office), it took 3 people (two to hold him down & one to put them in). The first time we put them in at home, it was horrible. I think it took close to 30 minutes to get the first one in. And then we “lost” the second one (found it rolled up on the chair).

    Our PO suggested weekly removal & cleaning. We did that for a few months, but it was a fight every time. One person to hold him down; one person to put them in. Someone in the Yahoo Aphakic group suggested daily removal to help get a good routine going. That helped a ton! We went from 10 minutes of 2 parents fighting them in to 2 minutes of Mommy putting them in with little-to-no fighting. At 22 months, I say “Let’s do your lenses” and he climbs up on the bed.

    Drops aren’t as hard now (we use rewetting drops). He doesn’t LIKE them, but I don’t think anyone likes drops. But it’s not an impossible task to get a drop in when he needs it!

    The first few times we did his contacts, it seemed like there was absolutely no way we were ever going to be able to do it. But it gets easier & easier each time. As hard as it is, try to relax. If you can’t get one in (or out…that’s harder sometimes), walk away for a little bit. Compose yourself; relax; try again later!

    I hope your little one’s surgery went well & he is recovering nicely!

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  2. My son is 5 months old now, and we have been putting contact lenses in for the last 6 weeks or so. He had his cataracts removed at 12 and 15 weeks. He also has glasses, but we’ve found that so far, the contacts are easier (believe it or not!) It is a very daunting thought to put contacts in such a little guy, but we do what we have to for our children, don’t we!? My husband has gotten very good at getting them out and I’m more comfortable putting them in. We know we’ll have to do both eventually, but for now this works for us. We’ve had our fair share of challenges (lost in the eye, lost in the bouncy seat) that you can read about in my blog (eyelovejack.blogspot.com). The previous poster has great ideas – we changed them every few days at first to get into a routine, and now we can go 7-10 days without having to take them out. He also gets rewetting drops, which he doesn’t like, but he tolerates. He was on so many drops after his surgeries that one drop occasionally is a welcome exception! Good luck to you!

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  3. Kaitlyn has worn contacts since 3 months old. She is now 17.5 months. I recommend the Yahoo group as well! Kaitlyn will be wearing contacts the rest of her life. gets easier. We use adult-sized soft contacts in her eyes.

    I sent our story to Ann back in Feb. I’ll re-post here.

    When Kaitlyn was a newborn, she would cross her eyes. My dad, who had a lazy eye corrected by surgery at age 35, pleaded with me to take her to a Pediatric Ophthalmologist. Kaitlyn was diagnosed with severe nearsightedness at 3 months old, with a prescription of -19.5. Her focal point is about at the tip of her nose, making her look cross eyed to try and focus. Because her focal point is so close to her face, the Doctor recommended contacts so she can develop her peripheral vision as well. So, since 3 months old, every day I put in and take out Kaitlyn’s contacts.

    It was a challenge at first, it is quite different putting contacts in your own eyes, vs. putting them in your child’s. I used to swaddle her arms, but now someone has to hold her arms and head to do it. We have good and bad days, ones where I get the contacts in quickly, others where it takes a while, or she isn’t in the mood to be held down, and have her eyelids pulled back. I have to continually check to see if she rubbed one out, especially when tired. It has become routine after naps to pick her up and stand a minute longer to check the crib for a contact before then checking her eyes, and putting in re-wetting drops .

    It is a struggle every morning, but once they are in, unlike the glasses, there is no pulling them off, adjusting them, coaxing her to keep them on. She can’t feel them, and she gets the best vision possible. And every morning, once she gets them in, she gets a big smile on her face. Finally she can see the world once more.

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  4. Hi

    My little girl has contact lenses in both eyes, due to her own lenses being removed when it was discovered they weren’t in the corect place. She got her right lens removed when whe was 3 years old and we were obviously extremely worried about the prospect of having to put contact lenses on a 3 year old.

    She was absolutely fine with it, however, and we started off with the contats lenses that she could wear continuously. This worked fine, with the exception of her when it came out and we had to put it back in.

    It did take a few months for us to be comfortable doing it, with myself bing the more confident as I wear contact lenses. My husband doesn’t, so he took a while longer to feel comfortable inserting the lens into her eye.

    When she was 7, unfortunately her own lens in her left ye also moved out of position, so she had to have that removed and now wears a les in that eye too.

    She is able to ow take them out at night herself, although still needs our help each morning putting them in.

    We’re now on monthly contact lenses that we take out most nights to let her eyes rest.

    My advice would be not to worry too much about it, although I know thats easier said than done.

    My experience has been that my little girl doesnt worry about it at all, and gets fed up with me asking how her eyes are, if the lens stayed in when she was at school etc.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

    My name is Lynn and I live in Scotland

    Good luck and god bless.

    Lynn

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  5. Hi, while not the same situation, I can offer our experience. In April, my then-1.5 year old son had a cataract removed from his right eye. In February we noticed a cloudiness in his eye and took him to his pediatrician. Several dr visits later he was having cataract surgery. Our situation is not typical since he was older at diagnosis. His doctor said the membrane around the lens never fully formed and was leaking fluid since birth.

    James is now 2 and wears a contact. I was so skeptical when this was offered to us as the best possible solution. Not glasses or even goggles that we could strap to his head? He’s an active toddler! Flash-forward to now, for me contacts are the best therapy even with the hassles. Putting the lens in always results in tears (especially if it takes his father and me more than one try). Like the others, some days they go in fine, others are heartbreaking. James wears a weekly lens. He just got a new one and the fit must be off because he can take that thing out in a minute. His previous lens would stay on for days.

    One thing our new ophthalmologist recommended was arm immobilizers. It seemed barbaric, but sometimes all we have to do is put the arm bands out and he stops rubbing his eye. (See Pedi-wrap and Snuggle Wraps) Also, our new opthalmologist (we moved from Tx to Fl this summer) prescribed glasses to wear on the days that the contact lens is being cleaned or for activities like going to the beach that are not suitable. Glasses are okay, but they don’t cover his vision like a lens and he can become frustrated.

    Because it is one eye, we do patch therapy. James does remarkably well wearing his contact and patching. Because of our move and a lapse in care, James is supposed to patch all waking hours, every day. Now is the time for him to retrain his brain to use his eye. I have to remind myself of that every time he puts up a fuss or rips his patch off. It’s not easy.

    As for the future, 1st ophthalmologist said that we could consider a new lens & surgery after he’s 5, but that her patients mostly prefer to wear the contact. Often these kids will need additional prescriptions for near-/far-sightedness so the one contact can do it all. (Anyone want to verify that?) We haven’t had this discussion with the new ophthalmologist yet as we have mostly been concerned with catching up for lost time.

    One thing for sure: you will go through many, many lenses! On the plus side: you’ll become an expert finder of tiny, clear objects. James is old enough to come to us when he has taken his contact out. Not always, but most times.

    It’s hard to ask questions when you don’t know what they are yet. It’s still a learning experience for us, but thankfully James has been making progress.

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  6. Hi, while not the same situation, I can offer our experience. In April, my then-1.5 year old son had a cataract removed from his right eye. In February we noticed a cloudiness in his eye and took him to his pediatrician. Several dr visits later he was having cataract surgery. Our situation is not typical since he was older at diagnosis. His doctor said the membrane around the lens never fully formed and was leaking fluid since birth. James is now 2 and wears a contact. I was so skeptical when this was offered to us as the best possible solution. Not glasses or even goggles that we could strap to his head? He’s an active toddler! Flash-forward to now, for me contacts are the best therapy even with the hassles. Putting the lens in always results in tears (especially if it takes his father and me more than one try). Like the others, some days they go in fine, others are heartbreaking. James wears a weekly lens. He just got a new one and the fit must be off because he can take that thing out in a minute. His previous lens would stay on for days. One thing our new ophthalmologist recommended was arm immobilizers. It seemed barbaric, but sometimes all we have to do is put the arm bands out and he stops rubbing his eye. (See Pedi-wrap and Snuggle Wraps) Also, our new opthalmologist (we moved from Tx to Fl this summer) prescribed glasses to wear on the days that the contact lens is being cleaned or for activities like going to the beach that are not suitable. Glasses are okay, but they don’t cover his vision like a lens and he can become frustrated. Because it is one eye, we do patch therapy. James does remarkably well wearing his contact and patching. Because of our move and a lapse in care, James is supposed to patch all waking hours, every day. Now is the time for him to retrain his brain to use his eye. I have to remind myself of that every time he puts up a fuss or rips his patch off. It’s not easy. As for the future, 1st ophthalmologist said that we could consider a new lens & surgery after he’s 5, but that her patients mostly prefer to wear the contact. Often these kids will need additional prescriptions for near-/far-sightedness so the one contact can do it all. (Anyone want to verify that?) We haven’t had this discussion with the new ophthalmologist yet as we have mostly been concerned with catching up for lost time. One thing for sure: you will go through many, many lenses! On the plus side: you’ll become an expert finder of tiny, clear objects. James is old enough to come to us when he has taken his contact out. Not always, but most times. It’s hard to ask questions when you don’t know what they are yet. It’s still a learning experience for us, but thankfully James has been making progress.

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  7. Hello. Thought I would just add my very recent experience on newborn congenital cataract, contact lense and patching.
    Where do I start…………………………….On 10 June 2011 I had the most wonderful homebirth experience, we had an appointment 6 hours later for his newborn check at our local hospital. At 6 hours old, our little son Jamie’s life was about to change forever. We attended the check thinking it would be all over and done with in 10 mins (as had been with our elder two children). BUT no, the paeditrician was unable to get a red reflex in the left eye and started talking about the possibility of a cataract…………………………mmmmmm……………isn’t that something older people got I thought. He made an appointment for us to see the consultant at the hospital two days later, who took one look in his left eye and said this needs to be dealt with immediatly by a specialist, we were worried now, as we were referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital which is where really sick children go !!! The 4 days waiting for our appointment to come through were hell. Once we had the appointment we had something to focus on ( apologise for the pun there !!!) . SO we attended the appointment and were told that our son had a congenital cataract in his left eye ( and after lots of blood test , no reason found for it). The consultant (and his team who were/are fab) talked about surgery, contact lense, patching………………..I cried for about a week after, my baby was two weeks old , he shouldn’t have to go through this, had I done something wrong in my pregnancy, why was this happening to us …………………they were dark days.
    So the operation went ahead, and
    1. Operation straight forward and a success
    2. Drops administered for a month, after the first few days, really straight forward.
    3. Temporary glasses until drops finished (these looked strange to start with, but eventually became who Jamie is………..they are part of him)
    4. Contact lense. Feared this……………….but my oh my its straight forward. Once you have the knack. We put it in when he wakes up and take it out at bath time. No more than a minute each time……………and in my opinion give a better outcome than the glasses (which we still use from time to time, such as if he has an infection)
    5. Patching, this is the thing I dislike the most. We have to patch for half of all waking hours up to the age of 8. Jamie isn’t fussed (at the moment) but I worry for the future, I don’t want him to be picked on or bullied, but I hope in this modern world that something like a patch will not be so big anissue.

    All in all, its an emotional rollercoaster, you go for a few days going through the motions and then the reality of this being (apart from the patching) for life hits home and I have a cry.

    Jamie is 11 weeks old now and we are still at the very beginning of the journey, but the unconditional love of a parent will get you through this, and you have every right to feel emotional, scared and angry……………………..but the ‘eye’ which is all that ever seems to be talked about, needs to become part of Jamie not to consume all his baby moments and experiences.

    To anyone reading this , in the same boat as us………………………….good luck…………………..be strong………………………….you can do it (it does take time to learn to deal with the lense and patching)………………………..and above all………………….ENYOY your baby xxx

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  8. Hi I have a three year old son that had the surgery at 9 months old and has worn a contact ever since. We change his contact every few days, avoid most sunlight, avoid the beach usually unless we hover over him because we live a block from the ocean and it is hard to avoid . Changing contacts, putting in eye drops, and wow patching lets talk about patching its all a lot. The truth is : life is big now. Big survival of parenting together , loving your child while holding them down every few days with three adults to help, and even wearing arm restraints . It sucks. It takes prayer, it takes a prayer team. It takes balance, it takes patience with each other and lots and lots of money to bribe your child of amazing adventures like indoor science musuems and indoor aquariums because when you can’t be in the sun in the summer because your eye muscles will get too lazy it takes creativity . Hang in there and hold on for the ride because one day you will get that one visit when they test the eye and the good one is covered and they pass. They see shapes, they see something and the work has worked.

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