Q: My 10-year-old wants to get s. Is she too young?
A: Not necessarily. More than half of the optometrists surveyed by the American Optometric Association said it was OK to introduce soft s between ages 10 and 12, and I agree. In fact, I prefer to start kids on the younger side: They tend to listen better than teenagers, so when I explain how to keep their eyes safe and healthy, those habits become ingrained for life.
Contacts are very safe—the risk of getting an infection from them is about 2 in 10,000—but if you don't properly care for them, the risk goes up. That's why daily disposables are a good choice for this age group; you never have to worry about whether your child remembered to clean them.
Your daughter can also avoid infection by washing her hands before putting in or removing her lenses and keeping a backup pair of glasses handy (anytime eyes feel irritated, take out the s). If she wears eye makeup, remind her to put in the s first and to avoid anything sparkly such as glitter, which can scratch the eye.
Still hesitant? Consider that s may help her social life. Studies have shown that giving lenses to full-time glasses wearers actually improves their self-esteem.