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HomeminewsStudy Reveal Kids CL Confidence

Study Reveal Kids CL Confidence

Children fitted with contact lenses have far more self confidence than those who wear glasses, according to a recent study funded by Johnson &Johnson and the Vision Care Institute. The study of 484 nearsighted children found that those who wore contact lenses were not only more confident about their appearance, but also about playing sport and their acceptance among friends.

According to study leader Jeffrey J. Walline, from Ohio State University’s College of Optometry: “Many studies have examined the effect of spectacle wear on self-perception and the perception of others, but the majority of this research has been conducted on adults. Research shows spectacles to be associated with poorer self-perception in adults if they were first worn during childhood.”

The children in the study were aged eight to 11, with 237 assigned to wear glasses and 247 assigned to wear contact lenses all for a period of three years. In that time, researchers checked for changes in the children’s selfperception in areas such as social acceptance, academic competence, athletic competence, physical appearance and general behaviour. They found that children with contact lenses had significantly higher scores of self-perceived physical appearance, athletic competence and social acceptance and academic confidence was higher for contact lens wearers who initially disliked wearing glasses.

Mr. Walline said the finding that children wearing contact lenses felt better about their athletic ability “is consistent with the growing body of research in this area demonstrating that contact lenses significantly improve how children feel about participating in activities such as sports”.

“Anecdotally, children may participate in recreational activities without vision correction rather than risk breaking their glasses. Unlike glasses, contact lenses provide clear vision without impairing peripheral vision, so children may feel that their athletic competence improves, because they can see more clearly while participating in recreational activities,” he added.

“Published studies have shown glasses to be associated with negative attributes in areas of self-perception and attractiveness, so it was not surprising that children’s physical appearance self-perception benefits from contact lens wear,” said researcher Mitchell Prinstein from the University of North Carolina.

Aussie Kids

The second in a series of national reports providing an overview of eye health in Australia, commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing through the National Eye Health Initiative found, among other things: “in 2004 to 2005 approximately 16 per cent of ten to 14 year olds wore lenses (glasses or contact lenses) to correct sight. This is much lower than the proportion wearing glasses in the general population. The number of zero to four year olds wearing lenses was extremely low. The proportion of boys and girls aged five to nine years wearing lenses was the same, while girls were more likely to wear lenses than boys in the ten to 14 years age group, although this difference was not statistically significant”.

The report went on to say: “There was some variation among jurisdictions regarding lens use among children. For example, compared with the national average, New South Wales had a higher proportion of children wearing lenses, while Western Australia had a lower proportion.

“The two most common sight problems corrected by lenses were long-sightedness and short-sightedness with one in 20 children aged five to 14 years wore lenses to correct shortsightedness, and the same proportion used lenses to correct long-sightedness. Lenses were used to treat astigmatism by just over one per cent of all children.

“Girls were more likely than boys to use lenses to correct short-sightedness, while boys and girls were each as likely to use lenses to correct long-sightedness.”

Sydney Myopia Study

The most recent study to concentrate on eye health among children was the Sydney Myopia Study, conducted in 2003 to 2005. The study involved children aged six and 12 years in Sydney and found that 19 per cent of 12 year olds used lenses. There was “a low prevalence of most types of vision impairment” reported in the sample. Among 12 year olds, astigmatism was the most common refractive error and in its mild form was found in about a quarter of children, while myopia (short-sightedness) was found in about 12 per cent of the sample.

The report went on to say that: “although the figures for lenses use were similar between the NHS and the Sydney study (16 per cent and 19 per cent respectively), the Sydney study suggests that prevalence of astigmatism is much higher than the NHS figures indicate.

This may be due to the condition only being diagnosed and treated in its more severe forms when symptoms are more apparent.”

Long-term Conditions

The NHS also provided information on respondents reporting long-term conditions. ‘Long-term’ defined by the NHS as “a condition that has lasted for six months or more (or for which a person expects to suffer for six months or more).”

The report went on to say: “… vision problems were some of the most common long-term conditions among children (Overall, there were about 411,000 cases of long-term eye disorders among children in Australia. In 2004 to 2005, 3.7 per cent and 3.5 per cent of children reported suffering from long-and short-sightedness respectively. Around one per cent suffered from astigmatism, while one per cent suffered from other refractive and accommodation disorders. Levels of blindness, cataract and glaucoma were very low.”