How To Use Extended Contact Lenses

If you keep odd hours, like to have a nap in the middle of the day, or just prefer the convenience of always having your contacts in, extended wear contacts are a great option to satisfy your needs. Most extended wear brands can be worn for up to 30 days at a time, thought some have shorter usage periods. However, when worn or handled incorrectly, extended wear contacts can cause serious eye infections. Knowing how to properly wear and care for extended wear lenses ensures you can wear this convenient product safely.

Explore Different Types of Lenses

Extended wear contacts are available in both silicone hydrogel materials (soft contact lenses) and rigid gas permeable materials (hard contact lenses). 

Lenses made from silicone hydrogel materials allow more oxygen to reach the eye, decreasing the chance of corneal irritation. Many wearers find this type to be the most comfortable to wear. One downside is that you must dispose of these lenses after the designated usage period.

Contacts created from rigid gas permeable materials cover less of the eye; when you blink, these lenses move more than soft contact lenses. Due to the smaller size and the movement of the lenses, there is a smaller chance of debris or microbes getting trapped underneath your contact lenses. Hard contact lenses are able to successfully correct a number of vision problems, such as astigmatism and cone-shaped corneas. Some users find the lenses to be less comfortable.

Consult with your eye doctor to see what type of extended wear contact lenses is best for your eyes.

Reconsider Wearing the Lenses for 30 Days at a Time

Though the FDA has approved the many brands of extended wear contact lenses for continuous wear for up to 30 days at a time, most eye doctors recommend removing the lenses more frequently. It is advisable to remove and clean the lenses at least once per week. If possible, try to limit your overnight use of the lenses to minimize your risk of getting an eye infection.

Listen to your eyes when deciding how long to wear your lenses. If you find that your eyes are constantly getting red or irritated, remove and cleanse the lenses more frequently. 

Make Sure You Wear the Lenses in the Correct Environment

Individuals who work in a setting with significant amounts of dust, chemical fumes, or particles may find that wearing their contact lenses at work is uncomfortable. The particles and fumes can stick to or even be absorbed by your extended wear contact lenses, resulting in eye and corneal irritation. If you work in an environment with many irritants, consider swapping your contacts for glasses while at work.

Extended wear contact lenses are a terrific product for individuals who work long or irregular hours. Understanding how to use and wear these lenses helps keep your eyes clear, comfortable, and healthy.