Switching to contact lenses? You’ll have to choose between wearing daily or disposable lenses and monthly lenses. Which is better? The short answer is it depends on your needs and lifestyle.
To learn more about the benefits of wearing daily and monthly contact lenses, it’s best to consult your local optometrist. But in the meantime, you can read about the pros and cons of daily and monthly contact lenses.
Daily Contact Lenses
Is it your first time wearing contact lenses? Disposable contact lenses would be the best choice. After all, it’s not uncommon for first-time contact users to tear or lose their contact lenses, so it’d make practical and financial sense to use daily contacts until you get used to them.
Daily contact lenses are also the preferred choice of patients suffering from dry eyes or allergies. Since daily contact lenses are only used once, there’s less build-up, which can cause eye complications in the long term.
What if you just want more convenience? The main advantage of wearing disposable contact lenses is that you don’t have to clean them every night.
Of course, daily contact lenses are not without disadvantages. For one thing, they’re the more expensive choice in the long run. Individually, they might not cost much, but costs can quickly add up in the long term. Not to mention they’re not the most environment-friendly option.
Important note: As the name suggests, daily contact lenses are for single-use. This means if, for any reason, you remove your contact lenses, they should be replaced with a fresh pair.
Monthly Contact Lenses
Monthly contact lenses, on the other hand, are more durable and can retain moisture better than thin daily contacts. Their superior moisture retention makes them ideal for patients who frequently suffer from dry eyes. And in terms of value, you can save more in the long run by using monthly lenses.
Extended-Wear Monthly Contact Lenses
You should always take your contacts off before going to bed. That’s because the contacts could deprive your cornea —which gets its oxygen supply through the air instead of blood vessels—of oxygen. If the cornea is deprived of oxygen for too long, your eyes might suffer hypoxia or oxygen deprivation, which can in turn increase the risk of eye infections.
The said rule applies to all contact lenses, that is except for extended-wear lenses. Extended-wear contact lenses are thinner than regular contact lenses and, as such, allow a larger amount of oxygen to reach your cornea even when your eyelids are closed. They can be worn for seven days continuously, although there are lenses that can be worn for an even longer time. Keep in mind that this the maximum amount of time you can wear extended-wear contact lenses—most people can only tolerate wearing these lenses for a few days. To learn more about the advantages of extended-wear contacts, consult your local eye doctor.
To reduce the risk of eye infections, here are some tips on cleaning monthly contact lenses:
Wash your hands before cleaning or putting on your contact lenses.
When not in use, contact lenses should be stored in a small two-sided container with some contact solution to prevent them from drying out.
You should only use the cleaning solution recommended by your optometrist. Don’t forget to read the instructions on the label carefully.
Do not reuse cleaning solution or mix old bottles with new ones; cleaning solution should only be used once. Throw away the leftover cleaning solution and refill the lens case with a new solution after every use.
Don’t use water to rinse your contacts—there could be hundreds of microorganisms hiding in tap water.
Avoid transferring the cleaning solution to smaller travel-sized unsterile bottles, as the solution could be contaminated in the process.
Replace the lens case every three months.
Types of Contact Lenses
Don’t forget that you also need to consider which type of contact lens best suits your lifestyle and needs. Here’s a quick overview of the different types of contact lenses:
Soft contact lenses – Soft contact lenses come in single-use and extended-wear varieties. They’re usually made from a special type of plastic that’s combined with water, which is added to the plastic material to allow oxygen to reach your corneas through the lens. Extended-wear contact lenses, which can be worn overnight, are made of silicone, an even more breathable material. However, not all patients can tolerate wearing silicone contacts, which is why it’s best to consult an eye doctor if you’re considering extended-wear soft contact lenses.
Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses –Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses are less fragile and easier to clean than soft contact lenses. However, they’re less comfortable to wear and will take some getting used to. Optometrists recommend wearing rigid lenses every day to allow your eyes to adjust to them.
Bifocal lenses – These lenses are usually prescribed to those aged 40 and above. As people get older, they may find it harder to focus on objects near them or located far away. This condition is called presbyopia, which is diagnosed by looking for refractive errors in your eyes. Presbyopia is treated by wearing bifocal lenses.
Monovision lenses – If bifocal lenses aren’t an option, your optometrist may recommend a combination of multifocal and monovision lenses. One monovision lens will correct your distance vision while the other will correct your near vision. The lens correcting distance vision is usually worn on your dominant eye.
What to Expect During Contact Eye Exams
After deciding on which type of contact lens you’ll wear, you should see your optometrist for a contact eye exam. Here’s what to expect during the eye exam:
Contact lens consultation – After conducting a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will discuss your different options. It’s important that you inform your optometrist about your preferences. If they found certain vision conditions, your optometrist may recommend some brands as well.
Contact lens fitting – Your eye doctor measures your cornea’s curvature and the size of your pupil. (The cornea is the front of the eye’s surface while the iris the colored part of the eye). After taking optical measurements, they’ll conduct a tear film evaluation. What’s the purpose of a tear film evaluation? As the name suggests, it can tell your eye doctor how much moisture your eyes can produce. They’ll drop liquid dye on your eye and observe how much moisture is produced using a slit lamp. If your eyes can’t produce enough tears or moisture, your optometrist may prescribe a type of contact lens that can help retain moisture in your eyes.
Contact lens trial and prescription – Your optometrist will have you try on a pair of lenses to see if you’re comfortable with wearing them. If they’re a great fit, your eye doctor will place an order for your new lenses. They’ll then discuss how to properly clean and wear your new contacts.
Follow-up schedule – Your optometrist may schedule another appointment at a later date to see if you’re adjusting well to your new contacts. If you experience any discomfort while wearing your new contacts, you should see your local optometrist as soon as possible.
The Importance of Routine Eye Exams
Even if you haven’t experienced any vision problems, it’s still important to see your optometrist for routine eye exams. Remember: some symptoms don’t appear until the later stages of certain vision conditions. Through routine eye exams, your eye doctor can detect and treat vision conditions before they progress.
How often should you see your optometrist? As you get older, you’ll need to see your optometrist more often. In general, those aged 20 to 39 should undergo an eye exam every five years, those aged 40 to 54 every 2 to 4 years, those aged 55 to 64 every 1 to 3 years, and those aged 65 and above every one to two years.
Looking for optometrists near you?
Clearfinity Eyecare Optometrist provides quality eye care and vision correction services. With our friendly and experienced staff, you can feel comfortable and well-cared for in our office. To schedule an appointment, call us at (703) 293-5222. We serve homeowners in Lorton and Newington, VA, as well as the surrounding communities.
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