Survey highlights importance of self-esteem for children and parents

Self-esteem is the most important factor for parents who have children requiring vision correction, according to a survey. 

Conducted by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care and popular parenting website, Mumsnet, the research, entitled Parents and Children’s Views and attitudes about vision correction questioned 507 adults to gauge the attitudes and perceptions of parents of vision corrected children aged between 10–17 years old. As a comparison, the participants’ children were also questioned.

In the survey, 70% of girls and 50% of boys agreed that it was “absolutely critical” to be confident and comfortable among their peers. The majority of parents were aware of that, telling the survey that it was of paramount importance to them too that their children should have high self-esteem.
While parents and children agreed about self-esteem in the survey, they did not see eye to eye when it came to contact lenses. The research revealed that four in 10 children who currently wear spectacles had asked their parents to try contact lenses, but the results showed that most parents were reluctant to let them.
Two-thirds of parents surveyed believed their children were not old enough, or were not responsible enough, to wear contact lenses.
Marcella McParland, director of professional affairs at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care for the UK and Ireland, said: “The survey demonstrates that many parents don’t realise children from quite a young age can wear contact lenses. Responses show that parents believe the ‘right’ age for children to start wearing contact lenses is about 14 and that fewer than one in five parents are aware that children as young as eight are capable of contact lens wear.” 
Paul Surridge, chief executive of Sight Care which is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, commented: “The most important thing is that children who have a prescription and need either glasses or contact lenses to see well, should feel confident and comfortable at this time of their lives. 
“Myopia typically develops at around eight years of age and can get worse in the teen years. This is a vulnerable time for young people, who may be facing all sorts of academic, social and sporting challenges. The essential thing is for them to feel at ease with their vision correction, whether it be spectacles or contact lenses.”
Mr Surridge added: “Independent opticians invariably situated at the heart of local communities are very happy to talk through all the vision correction options available and explain how children can make safe contact lens wearing part of their daily routine.”
Deven Lakhani, one of the leading advocates of contact lens use for children in Enfield confirms these findings. “Increasingly, we are seeing children, as young as 8 who would benefit from the use of contact lenses. Modern lenses are very comfortable and healthy and can provide better all-round vision and a safer, more practical option in many cases.”
He cites an example of a young girl whose drama teacher had recommended her parents to consider contact lenses for her when she was performing on stage. “Once wearing her new contact lenses the change in her confidence was both astounding and heart-warming. I would strongly encourage all parents to ask their child’s optometrist about the suitability of contact lenses for their children. It can be a life-changing experience.”
 Child trying glasses


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