Teens and Contact Lenses: FAQs

Dr. Russel Lazarus, October 27, 2021

An estimated 3 million U.S. adolescents aged 12-17 years old wear contact lenses.

Teenagers have their own ideas of how to dress and how they want to look.  This includes deciding to wear contact lenses instead of glasses.

Many people assume that only older teenagers can wear contact lenses, but thanks to advancements in technology, this is no longer true.

Here are some frequently asked questions about contact lenses for teens.

Q1: From what age can someone wear contact lenses?

In theory, contact lenses can be worn at any age, but the ongoing maintenance requires personal responsibility, which might be tough for younger users.

The most common age to start wearing lenses is 12 to 14 years, when starting high school.

It is beneficial for a young user to become acquainted with contact lenses, but it is never too late to begin wearing them. The majority of people notice a vision problem first in their adolescent years, therefore now is the best time to start wearing contact lenses.

Q2: Why should my teen choose contact lenses instead of glasses?

While glasses can be stylish, at times they are impractical for teens.

If your teen plays sports or is socially active, contact lenses are more convenient.

Contacts offer enhanced visual perception and are less likely to get damaged than glasses during play or going out on the town.

Q3: Do contact lenses have to be cared for?

The vast majority of contact lenses worn by teens are daily disposables – requiring virtually zero care.

Other than the need for stringent hand washing during insertion and removal, daily disposable lenses require no maintenance because they are discarded every day and replaced with a new pair.

However, monthly contact lenses require maintenance since the same pair will be worn for the next few weeks.

Monthly lenses are still relatively easy to care for— all you need is good personal hygiene, an approved lens cleaning solution and an overnight soak. Your teen will also need to keep the lens storage case clean and replace each month.

SEE RELATED: Purchasing Contact Lenses Online?

If your teen wants to wear contact lenses, schedule a contact lens fitting with an eye doctor near you.

Find an eye doctor near you

Q4: Are contact lenses more expensive than glasses?

Depending on the type of lenses, contacts are often a less expensive option than glasses.

When thinking about the costs of each option, eyeglasses are a larger initial purchase, but contacts require regular purchases of new lenses and perhaps cleaning solution if using monthly lenses.

Q5: What happens if a contact lens is damaged?

Do not attempt to use a damaged lens – simply discard the damaged lens and replace it with a new one.

Whether your teen is using daily, monthly or biweekly lenses, it’s a good idea to throw out any damaged lens and replace them with a spare lens (if you have one) or glasses until you can get a replacement lens from your eye doctor.

Many eye doctors will replace a damaged monthly lens with a free replacement, depending on the cause of the damage.

Q6: Does my teen need a prescription for contact lenses?

All contact lenses require fitting by a trained eye doctor and an optical prescription. 

When they don’t fit properly, it can lead to a range of problems. An eye doctor can provide guidance on which contacts to choose for the best fit, based on your teen’s eyes and lifestyle.

Eyeglasses prescriptions and contact lenses prescriptions vary significantly and one cannot be used to purchase the other.

Part of the contact lenses consultation includes a trial period and teaching on insertion and removal – to ensure your teen is ready to take the next step.

Q7: Is it safe to wear contact lenses?

Contact lenses are extremely safe when properly cared for.

Many teenagers, following their eye doctor’s advice, find that contact lenses are far safer than glasses.

Glasses can be damaged while participating in sports, including baseball, football and basketball.

Contacts also make it easy to wear protective eyewear like sports goggles on the sports field, and UV-protected sunglasses. 

When your teenager wears contact lenses for longer than is recommended, this can dry out their eyes and result in irritation or infection. When a teen complains about their vision or eye discomfort, they should consult an eye doctor right away.

Q8: Can contact lenses be worn when sleeping?

Most contact lenses are only meant to be worn while  awake, but some specific contacts may be worn while sleeping. These are known as “extended wear” contact lenses.

Q9: Can contact lenses be shared between friends?


You should never wear someone else’s contact lenses.

All contact lenses are specifically prescribed and chosen by an experienced eye care professional— these cannot be shared between people, no matter the relationship.

Q10: My teen has a high prescription, can they still get contact lenses?

In recent years, contact lens technology has advanced tremendously, and many lenses are now designed for people with high prescriptions. 

Even those with moderate to high astigmatism can wear toric contact lenses or scleral lenses.

LEARN MORE: Guide to Contact Lenses

Contact an eye doctor near you to learn more about contact lenses for your teen.

Teenagers have their own ideas of how to dress and how they want to look.  This includes deciding to wear contact lenses instead of glasses. 

If your teen is asking to wear contact lenses, your eye doctor will provide experienced advice and lead the discussion.