Contact Lens Basics

Extended Wear Contact Lenses – Do’s and Don’ts

Extended wear contact lenses should be used with care.  All lenses are not meant for extended wear. Actually contact lenses have two wear schedules. You can wear some lenses for the day only but there are some lenses which you can wear overnight. In America the FDA has approved some lenses for daily wear and some lenses have been allowed for extended wear.

The advantage with the extended contact lenses is that they are permeable and allow sufficient oxygen to reach your eyes. The FDA approved extended contact lenses can be worn for a week. There are some lenses made of a special material like silicone hydrogel which can be worn up to 30 days. Basically these lenses are super-permeable and this feature allows the user to wear them for such extended periods of time.

The FDA approved  extended wear contact lenses to be worn up to two weeks. The agency then upgraded this period to a month.  Shortly afterwards it was found that the incidence of eye infections in the American population had increased. This was probably because people did not remove the lenses at night. The FDA then retracted its decision and limited the period to one week.

Actually the reason behind the infections was that over a period of time,  bacteria may enter your eyes through your fingers, eyelids or the lens. Because the lens were not removed and cleaned the bacteria was able to thrive, and result in infection.

It is therefore recommended to remove extended wear lens after a period of time. If you keep wearing the same contact lens for long time, oxygen supply to your cornea gets reduced resulting in infections and other complications. Moreover it may result in conjunctivitis and other such diseases.

Nowadays there are disposable extended wear contact lenses which you can throw away after one week. This practice reduces the chances of infections and promotes good eye care. But still extended wear lenses are not safe and if you do not remove your contact lenses daily you are more prone to get eye infections. Therefore it is always better to remove your contact lens before you go to bed.