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Pros And Cons Of Daily Contact Lenses Vs. Extended Wear Contact Lenses


In the world of contact lenses, there are basically two options: daily wear or extended wear. Each type has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. This article will explore some of the pros and cons of each to help educate potential contact lens wearers. Daily contact lenses are the most prevalent amongst contact lens wearers. These lenses are placed in the eyes in the morning and taken out before going to bed. They are not designed to be left in the eye overnight. Taking the lenses out at night gives the eyes a chance to rest and breath. These lenses are available in both the hard and soft varieties.

It is important to clean and sanitize daily contact lenses each day after taking them out of the eyes. Cleaning the lenses includes washing them with the proper cleansing product. After the lenses are clean, they must soak overnight in a conditioning solution. If the lenses are not properly cared for every day, deposits and bacteria will build up on them and cause irritation, if not infection, of the eyes.

Extended wear contact lenses are ideal for people with healthy eyes, who are looking for convenience, who have strong prescriptions as it allows good vision round the clock, and those who have irregular work schedules with which maintenance of daily lenses would interfere. These lenses are available in both hard and soft varieties. They can be worn for extended periods of time due to their high oxygen permeability, which is five to six times greater than daily contact lenses. Extended wear lenses carry extra risks as well, which will be described later.

Extended wear contact lenses as the name suggests can be worn for six or seven days at a stretch without wearing them off before going to bed. There are also some new contact lenses which can be wore for a period of 30 days! Yeah, that's true. These lenses are known as continuous wear lenses. These lenses cut back on the time needed to maintain regular cleaning, unlike daily wear lenses.

Extended wear lenses put added stress on the eyes. The wearer must have healthy eyes as determined by an optometrist in order to tolerate the extra stress. Since the lenses do not leave the eyes for several days at a time, deposits may build up and irritate the eye. Rarely, a serious infection can develop. This is rare, but does occur more frequently in those who wear extended wear lenses versus those who wear daily lenses.

During waking hours, the eyes regularly produce tears to keep the eyes moist. The combination of tears and oxygen helps to fight off bacteria in the eyes. When the eyes are closed during sleep, oxygen does not get through to the eye and there is also a reduction in the amount of tears produced. This can cause the contact to bind with the eye and cause problems, such as infection or corneal ulcers. Rigid extended wear lenses can bind to the cornea and reshape it, which is also undesirable.

To help minimize the risk of serious health issues, optometrists design schedules for extended wear lens users. This schedule will call for wearing the lenses continuously for several days, and then taking them out for a night to give the eyes a break. It is important to stick to the schedule; not doing so could result in unpleasant eye problems. Part of the plan to reduce eye problems includes going for more frequent eye appointments. The optometrist will examine the eyes and look for any signs of infection or other problems.