Contact lenses are worn by many, in place of glasses, to correct their vision for distance and near tasks. With the use of contact lenses comes proper hygiene and adherence to a lens replacement schedule.
Let’s start by discussing what a contact lens is. A contact lens is a thin lens that is placed on the tear film of the eye to correct for your prescription. Most lenses are used to correct for refractive error (prescription) however, there are contact lenses that are worn for cosmetic purposes when necessary. Contact lenses can be made as a soft lens, Rigid Gas permeable and Scleral.
There are different modalities of replacement for each type of contact lens. Soft contact lenses come with a replacement of either daily, bi-weekly or monthly.
- Daily: should be replaced after one day of wear
- Bi-weekly: should be replaced after 14 days of wear; the lens should be removed daily and cleaned and stored in fresh solution daily.
- Monthly: should be replaced after 30 days; the lens should also be removed daily and cleaned and stored in fresh solution daily
- RGP/Scleral: these lenses are made out of a different material and with proper care will have a longer lifespan; it is important to discuss with your eye care provider how often you should replace these lenses
So why do contact lenses have to be replaced anyways? Once contact lenses are opened from their sterile containers, the lens starts to degrade. Deposits can build up on the lenses which can make them uncomfortable as well as cause damage to the corneal surface. This will make the eye more susceptible to irritation, infections and blood vessel growth which can further lead to the inability to wear contacts as well as contact lens intolerance. If lenses are slept in, this can lead to decreased oxygen getting to the cornea (hypoxia) which can predispose the eye to an ulcer. It is not recommended to sleep in a contact lens unless instructed to do so by an eye care provider.
If you have any questions about your contact lens replacement schedule or if you would like to further discuss your contact lens regimen, please call 860-233-2020 to schedule an appointment with one of our eye care specialists today.