Soft contact lenses safe in children, new report shows

Children and young teens can safely wear soft contact lenses (SCLs), according to a study recently published in Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics.

In an effort to assess the safety of SCLs, Robin L. Chalmers, a clinical trial consultant in Atlanta, and colleagues retrospectively reviewed charts from 963 children (8 to 12 years old; 782 patients in seven U.S. eye care clinics and 181 children from two international randomized clinical trials).

The researchers found that 60 percent of children were first fitted with daily disposable SCLs, with an average age at first fitting of 10.5 years and a mean of 2.8 years of follow-up. There were 122 potential ocular adverse events seen in 118 participants (12.2 percent). The annualized rate of noninfectious inflammatory adverse events was 0.66 percent per year and 0.48 percent per year for contact lens papillary conjunctivitis. There were two presumed or probable microbial keratitis cases (7.4 per 10,000 years-of-wear, both in teenage boys, with one resulting in a small scar without loss of visual acuity).

“The results of the current study help to answer parents’ and practitioners’ concerns about the risk/benefit of real-world SCL use in children and young teens and assure the relative safety of SCL use in this age group,” the authors write.

The authors disclosed financial ties to the optical industry.