WEDNESDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- It came as no surprise to Christina Daves from Gainesville, Va., when her daughter asked for contact lenses at the age of 9.

Her daughter, Megan, had started wearing glasses in the second grade, when she was 7, because she was nearsighted, which meant she needed glasses to clearly see objects in the distance. She also had astigmatism, an irregularly-shaped cornea, in one eye.

"Megan is a swimmer, so swim team was awful because she couldn't see," Daves said. "She didn't wear her glasses to meets, and she hated not being able to see well."

Daves said that Megan's eye doctor was hesitant to prescribe contact lenses for someone so young, but she assured the doctor that her daughter was quite responsible and would do the care required for healthy contact lens use. If her teenage son had made the same request, she said, her answer would have been "no way," but she said she was convinced that her daughter could handle the responsibility that comes with wearing contacts.

She did worry that Megan might have trouble getting the contacts in and out, but she said those concerns were quickly allayed. "The first contact took about 5 to 10 minutes to put in, but after that she was a pro," Daves said. "After one day, she was able to take them in and out without using a mirror."

And the freedom from glasses has been something Megan's enjoyed, her mother said. "Just for sports alone, it has made such a difference in her life," she said. "She also plays lacrosse and volleyball, and both are difficult to play with glasses."

As for taking care of her contacts, that hasn't been a problem, either. Daves said the only issue they have is that both mother and daughter have trouble remembering to take out a new pair of contacts after two weeks, when the lenses expire.

Her advice to other parents? Whether a youngster is ready for contacts "really depends on the personality of the child," Daves said. "I knew Megan was very responsible and organized so I was comfortable letting her try it at a young age. If it had been my teenage son, who is notorious for losing things and leaving things behind, I would not have let him at that age."

More information

Experts offer up advice on kids' eye health here.