Reader question: experiences with contact lenses/implants?

This second question came from Barb K in a comment.  -Ann Z

We have a lovely 4 years old daughter  who – unfortunately like her parents –  is extremely farsighted. Her eyeglasses are +20.00 and even when she wears them she has very poor vision. I s there a chance, however, that she can  grow out of her farsightedness, or must we prepare for her to be visionally impaired for the rest of her life?  What experiences do you people here have with contact lenses/implants?

16 responses to “Reader question: experiences with contact lenses/implants?

  1. Hi Barb!
    It seems like your daughter Ellen’s situation might be simular to my daughter’s. Ellen is 6 now and her glasses descrgption is about the same as your daughter’s. Ellen was born very farsighted, in fact so farsigthed that her first eyedoctor wouldnt belive it until he had done a new examination. It is as I am sure you know not often that babies must wear such strong glasses unless after cataracts surgery. She also wears lenses. Ellen now has very poor vision, she has to be really close to objects to see properly. She is today visually impaired. The doctors have, however, given us hope that Ellen, when she gets older, might get implants that will give her considerable better vision.


  2. Hello, our daughter was born with a unilateral congenital cataract in her right eye. She received an IOL (intraocular lens) when she was 1 month old. We are also, finally receiving her contact lens tomorrow (prescription +7). I forget what her IOL strength is, I will ask tomorrow, so with both lenses working together her prescription is pretty high. We are currently using a black occluding lens for patching and she is receiving a contact lens because she refuses to wear her glasses. Mia just turned 1 and I find the contact lens to be much, much easier than glasses and patching. You have to follow the daily cleaning procedure to ensure the lenses are free from bacteria. It is also very difficult inserting the lens when you first begin, however once you find a routine it is pretty easy. I still have to restrain Mia when I place her lens in, however I am able to insert her lens in a few seconds. I also thought it would be best if I figured out how to insert her lens by myself so I would not have to depend on anyone, or have to wait to insert her lens when my husband is home. With a prescription as high as +20 you should definitely look into IOL’s. I think this would drastically improve your daughter’s vision. I have also read about piggybacking IOL’s an multifocal IOL’s. The advancements they are making with eye care is amazing. You should try to google IOL’s or intraocular lens and see what comes up.

    I hope this helps.



  3. I found out this morning that Mia’s IOL is +20 and she received a contact lens that is +8. So with the 2 lens she is +28 in her aphakic eye. Her optometrist told me that if she did not receive an IOL, she would be wearing a gas permeable rigid contacts with a prescription between +28 to +30.


  4. Thanks a lot for the intersting answers i have got so far. This is very interesting for us to hear. I have heard about piggybacking IOL’s an multifocal IOL’s from an eye doctor, and the additional information and experiences from you Danielle is worth gold for me and gives hope for our Mia. She struggles hard to see and has a very limited distance she ipractically can see anything at all, though she wears her bifocals. She also has this strong propensity to hold books and toys very closer to her glassesthan needed, probably also because she keeps being fascinated by the magnifying effects from her strong lenses. She has always loved her glasses.

    And maybe we also should think about alternatives to glaases and/or ordinary contactlenses to our oldest daughter, who is 12 now. She is also extremely farsighted and wears high plus glasses. She has not as low vision as her little sister. But her farsightedness/Hyperopia has increased gradually, and she must frequently get more and more powerfull glasses. She has never had any obligation to wearing her thick glasses. On the contrary, she says she feels must comfortable with her glasses and prefer them, though she has tried contact lenses. With glasses her vision is today far from being corrected to 20/20, and in addition comes of course the magnification error and lack of peripheral vision.


    • Wow! Your story is amazing Barb for how much strong of a prescription both of your daughters have. It must be a very strong hereditary factor! I am sure you will find the best solution for both of your daughters and it seems that they are well adjusted in spite of their low vision!


  5. Corrie, I think you are right as regards hereditable factor for extreme farsightedness. On both sides, at least for two generations. This is of course off topic, but nevertheless… Both my husband and I wear powerful glasses, and have done so since childhood. His mother was legally blind for most of her life. I have two cousins who are visually impaired. Etc. etc. Maybe we should have been aware of this risk – but on the other hand, “Birds of a feather flock together” 🙂


  6. Tanks again, Danielle!
    My 12 year old daughter and I Monday consulted the eye clinic for a new evaluation and what can be done to improve her vision as her extreme farsightedness still seems to aggravate. We got a thorough introduction to IOLs – piggybacking IOLs an multifocal IOLs etc. Just as you told, Danielle. They are now going to make a plan for her. We got new hope. And thanks again.
    To Corrie, yes it is in God’s hands and His ways are mysterious. But the eyedoctor also says something about man’s work and genetics. As i mentioned, on both sides of our families there has been a strong gene (or rather a weak gene) for extreme farsightedness. In addition there is some “inbreeding” – on both sides – cousins and second cousins marriges. But that’s also nature, isn’t it? My husband and I are both very farsighted and of cource carriers of this weakness, a risk for getting visually impaired children was something we knew so well before we decides to have children. And we souldn’t have been without them 🙂 And what is wrong about having low vision? This site is so valuable in many ways. It helps us todiscuss our challenges, and it also exhibits our kids and shows how beauitful they are with their cute glasses 🙂


    • You are SOOOOOOOOO right!!! There is nothing wrong with having low vision, and I find that children with vision or other impairments have a much better view of life as they have learned to overcome obstacles at a very early age. I was afraid I had offended you, I did not mean to say that you should not have ad children in ANY way!!! 🙂 Children are a blessing that cannot be compared to any other experience in life regardless of the health issues they may or may not have. I was just simply amazed that it is a very strong genetic connection! Both my husband and I are nearsighted, yet our daughter is farsighted and cross-eyed…. so our genes mixed together must have made two negative prescriptions into a positive prescription. 🙂 I am glad you are getting a plan for your little one!! I am sure both your daughters are beautiful in their glasses! All the best to you and your family!


  7. Thanks a lot Corrie, for your wise, warm and caring words! And thanks to all the others that have contributed to help us in our attempt to use the net and network resources to get advice for our dearly beloved foureyed children.


  8. I was very disappointed that there was no answer to my question. The reason for farsightedness was not given at all or maybe there was no answer. Could you please let me know? Thank You


  9. Barb,
    I have some experiences which may be helpful, though time has passed and you may already have cast the die.
    We have two girls both of whom are extremely far sighted, though there is no family history of this, slightly the opposite in that there are some myopes in my family. Bekky at 19 is +17.5/+19 and Emily at 16 is +14.5/+15.5. Bekky was diagnosed at 8 months when her eyes started to cross, Emily was monitored from birth and started to wear glasses at 3 months.
    Both were initially prescribed somewhere about +10, but this steadily increased until Bekky hit +20 at age 7. She had been patching since age 3, because she was significantly favouring her R eye. By age 7, she was patching this eye full time. Her sight continued to require stronger correction until she was 12, at which stage she was +23 in her L eye and +20.5 in her R eye. At this stage, the Specialist had warned us that she might become partially sighted if her eyes did not start to grow. Very fortunately, this was the end of increases and until last year her prescription has steadily reduced and she now has quite good fusion between her two eyes, She wears very strong glasses because she feels after several trials (up to 6mths) of contact lenses, that they give the best balance between vision and comfort.
    Emily has been more straightforward with a steady progression to a stable prescription when she was 14. She alternates between contacts and glasses, but I suspect that she will eventually settle on glasses except for occasional contact use, as I know she finds them more comfortable. She never needed to patch.
    From the above, you will realise that we spent a lot of time in clinics with Bekky and became accidental experts on high hyperopia.
    During this time, we met a number of other parents who had children with similarly problematic eyes.
    When Bekky was at the lowest point, we faced a lot of pressure from the doctors for a operation to remove her lenses and replace them with IOLs. We were reluctant to go this route particularly after one doctor, told us that with the small eyes that she had glaucoma was a significant probability, but would be “easily treatable”.
    Other parents were persuaded to go this route and I know that a number of children were operated on. Initially, all were very positive on the outcome. Gone were the strong glasses, replaced with thin glasses with a bifocal segment, and vision was reported as “quite good”. One boy who was very friendly with Bekkie, did say that he could not see as well as he had previously seen with contacts. However, every single child who had the operation developed glaucoma to some extent and a couple of children lost significant vision in an eye. One 14 year old girl ended up actually registered as partially sighted!
    Bekky was party to all decisions and when asked recently by a parent of one of her friends “why she wanted to wear thick glasses instead of having an IOL” said that “she could see very well and wanted to stay that way, so she did not want to take risks which could make things worse”.
    Interestingly, she has never had a problem with interaction with the boys at school and is always a member of some mixed group outside college.
    From our experience, we would advise much care with operations. If your children can see adequately or better with glasses / contacts, then it might be better not to interfere.


  10. My daughter’s 4yr old has to wear contact lenses, but she won’t let her mom put the contacts in, she cries, and becomes very upset and refuses to open her eyes. Do you have any suggestions to make this process easier? thanks.


    • My daughter’s 4yr old has to wear contact lenses, but she won’t let her mom put the contacts in, she cries, and becomes very upset and refuses to open her eyes. Do you have any suggestions to make this process easier? thanks.


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