Contact lenses are a useful way of correcting your vision, as proven by the many people who choose to wear contact lenses on a regular basis. Contact lenses are a useful tool, but can you wear them every single day? Read on to find out more about the different types of contact lenses and how often you can wear them.
Daily disposable contact lenses
Dailies or daily disposable contact lenses are lenses that can be worn for a full day before being disposed of before bed. Daily disposables are a popular choice with many for their convenience, this is because you can throw these lenses away after each use, removing the need for a lens-cleaning routine.
Two weekly contact lenses
Two weekly lenses are contact lenses that you wear every day and then dispose of/replace after 2 weeks. These are more affordable lenses compared to daily disposables as they are replaced less frequently. Two weekly lenses need to be cleaned and stored in a lens case filled with contact lens solution every night.
Monthly contact lenses
To save even more money, monthly contact lenses are another option. Monthly lenses can be worn daily for up to 30 days, after which they are thrown away and replaced with a new pair of lenses. It’s important to note that monthly lenses can be worn for 30 days, not 30 years, this means that once you open the lens packet, the lens can be used only for the next 30 days after which the lens should be discarded, regardless of how many days you actually wore the lens during that time.
Why do I need to clean two weekly and monthly lenses?
Two weekly, monthly, and yearly lenses, all need to be cleaned after each day of wear OR each time they are worn. This is incredibly important not just for keeping the lenses in good condition, but for keeping your eyes and your lenses free of any bacteria. If contact lenses are not kept clean and not stored properly, your eyes will be at risk of serious eye conditions such as Keratitis. When bacteria get into the cornea, it can cause pain, scarring, infection, and even blindness.
How long can I wear my contact lenses?
All types of contact lenses are designed to be worn for a day, whilst you are awake. This means that your lenses should not be slept in (unless you have been advised to do so by your optician). How long you can wear lenses during the day will depend on many things and it will vary from person to person. The maximum wearing time can be 14-16 hours, but this will depend on your tolerance, your eyes, and the type of lenses you are wearing. Your optician will advise you on how many hours is right for you.
Contact lenses should never be worn past their expiry. This means that daily disposables should never be worn for more than 1 day, 2 weekly lenses should never be worn longer than 2 weeks and monthly lenses should never be worn longer than 30 days.
Can you wear contact lenses every day?
Most people can wear contact lenses every single day without issues. If you are having issues with your eyes, then wearing lenses might not be advised because they could make your symptoms worse or prolong the discomfort. You should consider taking a break from wearing contact lenses and perhaps switching to glasses if you have the below symptoms:
- Irritated eyes
- Red eyes
- Severe dry eyes
- An eye infection
You shouldn’t wear contact lenses for long periods of time if it causes any of the above symptoms. Discomfort should also never be ignored, if your eyes feel uncomfortable when you have lenses in and this is a reoccurring issue, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with your optician.
How to look after your contact lenses
If you are new to wearing contact lenses, a lens cleaning routine can seem a little annoying and time consuming, but it couldn’t be simpler. Once you get into the routine of doing it every day, looking after your lenses will feel as natural as breathing. As well as not wearing your lenses for longer than recommended, you should also do the following to keep both your eyes and your lenses in good health:
Always handle lenses with clean and dry hands
Before you put your lenses in and before you take them out, always ensure you have washed your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel after, as you don’t want to transfer any loose threads/lint to your eyes or lenses. It is important to dry your hands thoroughly to avoid any contact with water and your lenses.
Clean your contact lenses every night
Unless you wear daily disposable contact lenses, you should be cleaning and storing your lenses every night before going to sleep. The contact lens case should always be clean and you should only ever use fresh solutions, don’t top up the old solutions with more.
How to clean your lenses
- Clean your hands with soap and hot water, then dry them with a lint-free towel
- Place one lens in the palm of your hand, apply a few drops of solution to the lens
- Gently rub the lens with your finger for at least 10 seconds
- Rinse the lens with a few more drops of contact lens solution
- Disinfect your lenses by putting them in the lens case filled with a fresh disinfecting solution. You should only ever use fresh solutions, and never top up the old solution with more
- Repeat the above steps for the other lens, put the clean lens inside the contact lens case and close the lid
- Leave both lenses to soak in the lens holder for the recommended time as stated on the packaging
Solution bottles should ideally be discarded 30 days from opening to reduce the risk of any infections. You should never use an expired solution. It is a good idea to write the date you opened the solution on the bottle so that you know when to replace it.
To clean your contact lens case
Rub the inside of the case (including lid), with a lint-free towel or a clean finger. Do this for a few minutes, making sure to clean every section of the lens case. Rinse the inside and outside of the case/lid with a fresh multi-purpose solution – never use water. Your lens case should ideally be replaced at least every 30 days, to reduce the risk of infection.
Don’t sleep in your contact lenses
Unless advised by an optician, you should never sleep in your contact lenses. Even a short nap is enough time to cause damage and discomfort to your eyes, which could have long-term health effects such as corneal scarring.
Keep your contact lenses away from water
It’s very important that you keep your lenses away from any kind of water. It doesn’t matter if the water is distilled or bottled, all types of water can be harmful to your lenses and your eye health. This is because water contains microscopic, free-living amoeba (single-celled living organism) called Acanthamoebathat can cause serious eye infections when it comes into contact with your contact lenses. Acanthamoeba keratitis is a very serious eye condition that can be caused by water getting onto your lenses, this infection can cause blindness.
When you are wearing lenses, avoid swimming, showering and taking baths. Also, avoid the use of saunas and hot tubs whilst wearing contact lenses. Even handling your lenses with wet hands can pose a threat to your eye health.
Only buy contact lenses from reputable retailers Especially with colored lenses, it’s important to only buy your lenses from reputable sellers that have put all the safety measures in place. You can buy contact lenses online much more affordably than high street retailers, just ensure you have an up-to-date prescription.
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