Contact lens schedules, explained!
During our Eyes In The Park Comprehensive Exam, I hear a lot of similar questions from patients and I’d love to use this space as a way to dig in to some of the topics that come up most frequently. We all know that knowledge is power and that is especially true when it comes to something so precious as our vision.
LETS TALK ABOUT CONTACT LENSES.
Many of you are very curious about the details surrounding the use of Contact Lenses. And why wouldn’t you be? They go by many names but the most common are: DAILIES, 2-WEEKERS, MONTHLIES…and even though the names give us a clue about the shelf life for each product, its no wonder that we are often unsure of exactly what it means for HOW we should be using them!?
Firstly, the name of the contact is always referring to how often a contact lens should be thrown away and a new pair should be opened to wear. However, sometimes there is confusion with the recommended schedule because many of us are unclear about what that time period is actually based on. Below are some of the most important guidelines for the proper care of your lenses and your eyes.
HELPFUL TIP #1: CASE TIME = EYE TIME
The terminology for lenses is always based on the time that a contact has spent outside of the sterile packaging you purchased it in. I have had many patients over the years that have misunderstood this guideline to mean how many days a contact lens is ACTUALLY ON THE EYE! But this is not the case! I always remind my patients that even when your contacts are on your bathroom counter in their case, the timer is still ticking. What this means is that even if you are not wearing the lens every day, it still counts as a day because you have started the clock by removing the lens from its original packaging.
THIS CAN BE FRUSTRATING IF YOU DON’T WEAR CONTACTS EVERYDAY! And for many of you this feels wasteful!
HELPFUL TIP #2: CHOOSE THE RIGHT LENS FOR YOUR SPECIFIC USE
There are so many stylish frames out there nowadays and at Eyes In The Park, we have an amazing selection from which you can choose. Frames can be incredibly fashionable and many of my patients like to rotate wearing their glasses and their contact lenses. Often what this means is that these patients are NOT EVERYDAY WEARERS OF CONTACT LENSES.
Now, if you buy monthly lenses and then I tell you you can only keep them around for 30 days (even if 20 of those days your lenses were sitting in a case) it feels very wasteful to throw away a set of monthly lenses after only wearing them 5-10 times in that month. As an occasional wearer of contacts, myself, I feel your pain! So what we need to make sure of is that you choose the right contact for HOW you plan to use them.
HELPFUL TIP #3: DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DAILY LENS!
In the case of the occasional wearer, I almost always recommend using DAILY replacement lenses. These are lenses that you wear for one session for up to 12 HOURS and then throw them away. In my professional opinion, daily replacement contact lenses are the best way to wear lenses for many important reasons:
#1 - Daily lenses also tend to be the most comfortable and provide the best vision correction experience. Considering daily replacement lenses are fresh each day you wear them they don’t have the BIO-FILM (which consists of proteins and lipids) build up that can accumulate with longer replacement schedule lenses. This makes them more comfortable as well as making vision the clearest!
#2 - Daily Lenses carry the least amount of risk in terms of infection and inﬂammation. Removing fresh, STERILE lenses from the packaging each time you want to wear them allows for very little chance of contamination. Part of that reduction of risk comes from REMOVING THE CONTACT LENS CASE FROM THE EQUATION. Contact lens cases are gross because most people do not clear or replace the case as often as they should. (These should be replaced every 3 months, btw) The lack of BIO-FILM accumulation is also the mechanism for reduction of risk as bacteria can’t latch on to a fresh and clean (think slippery) lens!
#3 - Daily replacement lenses can be a very aﬀordable option!
The dailies have developed an unfair reputation for being super expensive. However, a supply based on wearing these lenses for only a few days a week is far more aﬀordable and better for your eyes than any other options. We have many patients who buy just a few boxes of daily replacement lenses that last them the whole year until their next annual exam. This also allows them to use their vision beneﬁt much more eﬀectively on an amazing new pair of glasses!
Last thing to touch on with the use of daily replacement lenses would be the concern about all the packaging and the use of the plastic for the lens. I echo your concern! We live in a world where we need to make better choices about the materials we use on a daily basis. I will say that the packing for daily replacement lenses is ALL RECYCLABLE! The boxes can be placed in your normal recycling bins at home. The lenses themselves and the blister pack containers for each lens can also be recycled. We have recently partnered with a company called TeraCycle to collect old lenses and the blister packs they came in. They have special processes to recycle these materials and we will have more information on this program for you soon. Just be sure to NEVER THROW YOUR USED DAILY LENSES IN THE SINK DRAIN OR TOILET! (Think Nemo, Dori, and Crush)
Right! That’s it from me for today! Thanks for taking the time to read our ﬁrst blog! Feel free to message us with any other questions or with suggestions of topics you would like to see discussed here in the future!
See You Soon!