Benefits of Contact Lenses
Unlike glasses, contact lenses move with your eyes so you can enjoy a larger field of vision with fewer distortions. You also don’t have to deal with frames hovering in your peripheral vision or external lenses that fog up on cold days or get wet in the rain.
How Often Should Contact Lenses Be Replaced?
For optimal vision and safety, contact lenses should be worn only for a designated amount of time before they need to be replaced with a new pair. Your doctor will likely provide you with a sufficient supply of lenses so that you can conveniently replace them when required for continued clear vision.
With continued wear, protein and lipid deposits begin to accumulate on the surface of the lens, which weaken its corrective powers and eventually leaves patients with poor vision if worn for too long. Following the designated replacement schedule ensures safe and effective vision results.
Depending on the type of lenses selected, replacements may be needed quarterly, monthly, every 1-2 weeks or daily. In between replacements, the lenses will need to be cleaned and disinfected after each use (except for daily wear lenses). Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions for the replacement of your lenses.
Types of Contact Lenses
There are several different types of contact lenses available to correct a wide range of refractive errors. The most common types include:
- Spherical lenses – for correction of nearsightedness and farsightedness
- Toric lenses – for correction of astigmatism
- Bifocal lenses – for correction of presbyopia (age-related loss of focusing ability)
In addition to the type of refractive error they correct, lenses may also be clear or tinted for convenience, therapeutic or cosmetic purposes. The different tints available include:
- Cosmetic enhancements – designed to enhance the natural eye color and ideal for light-colored eyes, which will appear as a blend of the natural color and lens tint
- Opaque or “cosmetic” tints – change the color of dark or light eyes by overlying the colored part of the eye for a noticeable yet natural-looking result
- Visibility tints – very pale colorings that help make the lens more visible during handling, while having no affect on eye color
How Long Can Contact Lenses Be Worn?
Each type of contact lenses are designed to be worn for a certain amount of time before they need to be removed and/or replaced. It is important to follow these guidelines to ensure clear, healthy vision and to reduce the risk of complications.
Daily wear lenses are to be worn while you are awake, for up to 18 hours a day. They should be removed each night and cleaned and disinfected overnight before they are inserted again in the morning.
Extended wear lenses can be worn continuously for up to seven days in a row, including while you sleep. These lenses usually have a higher water content or thinner center than daily lenses, allowing more oxygen to reach the eye over the extended period of time. After seven days, the lenses will either be removed and cleaned, or discarded and replaced with a new pair.
How To Care For Contact Lenses
Our doctors are highly skilled and experienced in the use of contact lenses, and will provide you with specific instructions on how to insert, remove and care for your lenses. It is important to wash your hands before handling your lenses to keep them clean, safe and free from infection, and follow your care routine precisely as recommended by the doctor. Careful wear and tear can reduce the risk of complications and ensure that you receive clear, healthy vision from your contacts.
Make sure to see your doctor for regular check-ups and only wear your contacts for the length of time recommended, even if they continue to feel comfortable. If you have any questions about your contacts, feel free to call us for assistance.
Choosing your Contact Lens Solution
After being fitted for contact lenses, your doctor will recommend a lens care system to clean and disinfect the lenses and make them as safe and comfortable as possible. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions for care and avoid mixing different solutions, which may lead to discolored lenses, eye discomfort or eye injury. Most solutions for soft contact lenses perform the following functions:
- Daily cleaning – first step to remove debris that accumulates on the lens
- Disinfecting – kills any bacteria or fungus on the lens
- Rinsing and storing – often combined with disinfecting to keep lenses clean and safe
- Comfort or lubricating drops – relieve dry eyes for long days
- Protein removal – removes protein deposits and restores a clean lens surface