Zoe and I re-watched the Yo Gabba Gabba episode “Differences” that I’d written about before. Previously, I wrote that I was disappointed that Muno got glasses that episode (which has some great songs about wearing glasses), but then he never shows up in glasses again. Turns out I hadn’t watched the full episode. At the end, he complains that his glasses always slip, so they give him contacts. Just like that. Which isn’t really any better, but at least there was an explanation. Still, I wish he’d stayed in glasses, for the whole episode, Zoe kept saying “glasses, like Zoe!”
Then I came across this article “Kids with contacts like their looks better than kids in glasses.” It’s the result of research done at Ohio State University by Jeffrey Walline. (If the name sounds familiar, then you have a great memory – he’s the researcher that published a study showing that kids do not think other kids in glasses are less attractive). Basically, this study looked at nearly 500 nearsighted children between the ages of 8 and 11. Half were assigned to wear glasses, and half contact lenses. The kids were asked about their feelings of self worth at the beginning and end of the study. While there was no difference between the groups in terms of global self worth or their value to society, children wearing contact lenses felt better about how they look, their athletic abilities and acceptance by their friends than did children wearing eyeglasses in a recent study. The article goes on to make the recommendation that “kids, in consultation with parents, should be able to choose what kind of vision correction they want,” obviously, with maturity and hygeine being big factors in that decsion.
Gah! It just hurts to read that. I don’t have strong feelings one way or another about contacts. I had them from age 13 to 18, and then stopped because my eyes were always bloodshot, and the contacts would cloud up after about 10 hours of wear. But it just hurts to read that the kids in glasses felt like they were less attractive and that their friends were less accepting of them. Gah. Childhood relationships can be crazy enough, without this added factor, and I know I can’t protect Zoe from everything, but I hate the idea that the things that help her see – and that look so freakin cute on her – might make her feel less accepted.
I don’t know if we’ll offer the choice of contacts as early as they did in the study, obviously that depends on what she’s like as an 8 year old. I know that I’ll do my damnedest to make sure she never feels unattractive because of her glasses.
What are your thoughts on kids in contacts as young as 8? Will you offer them to your child (again, assuming your child is mature enough to care for them)?