Trying to find the right contact lens is like finding the right shoe. Some people like them softer, while some prefer more support or a more stable feel. Either way, there’s no right or wrong type of contact lens specific for most patients. It’s just finding the right fit for each patient that is in the science of contact lens fitting.
There are many different contact lens companies out there, with many different types of lenses to choose from. From dailies to monthly wear, from bi-weekly to overnight wear, there are many different modes to choose from as far as wear time preference. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, which we here at Metrolina Eye take the time to explain and help the patient work thru in the effort to find what best works for them. Let’s go thru some of the most common wear schedules.
Dailies– this is the fastest growing segment of contact lens usage. Over the past several years, many patients are finding great success in using these lenses. The advantages are plenty- comfort is second to none. Patients tell me all the time they forget they have them in! Convenience is another advantage- no need for solution or cases (savings!), nothing to carry. They’re even recyclable, so the wearer doesn’t have to worry about waste. If a patient has dry eyes, or goes between glasses and contact lens usage, I’ll always recommend dailies. Another note, I’ve never had a corneal ulcer from a patient who wears daily contact lenses. Obviously compliance is a big part of that, but ocular health is what I pay attention to, as does anyone who’s ever had an ucler. Ucler’s are incredibly painful and leave corneal scars, so to wear a lens that allows your eyes to breathe as close to normal is of great long-term vision benefit. Over the past half-dozen years or so, the daily contact lens offering has improved with the improvement of contact lens technological advances. So even if you’ve tried dailies a decade ago and didn’t like them, chances are there’s newer lenses that you may enjoy. Just ask any of the providers here at Metrolina Eye Associates. It’s our goal to find the right lens for each patients wearing preference. Bonus- price points on dailies have also come down! We’ll explain the different costs and review any incentives that are constantly changing from contact lens companies.
Bi-weekly– this has traditionally been the most popular mode of wearing in the recent past. Now, this is the fastest shrinking mode of usage. While the lenses made for this time period are still viable, the mode of wearing isn’t as popular for new wearers mostly due to simplicity. Remembering to swap new lenses every day or every month is much easier to remember than every other week. Nevertheless, the lenses in this category are good, comfortable lenses that still work for many patients.
Monthly- this mode of wearing is very popular and has also gained a bit of market share in the past several years. Along with being easy to remember (same day every month), the technologies have allowed these lenses to improve in comfort versus past generations of monthly contacts. In this category, there is one approved by the FDA for overnight usage. This is great for patients who keep different hours (ie. work third shift, college students) and/or don’t remember to take out their lenses regularly. Again, convenience and comfort match up well for monthly wearers.
Regardless of mode of wear, all patients have to be mindful of overwear and staying within the proper wear schedule. Contact lenses are medical devices, we spend a lot of time with new wearers showing them proper techniques of insertion and removal. These are lessons we hope last a lifetime. Overwearing contact lenses can lead to all types of corneal and eye health issues, most of which are very painful and unpleasant. Listen to your eyes! If they are irritated or bothersome, remove your lenses. If its pollen season, or you work/live in a dusty environment, the lenses may not even last you their expected time.
There’s lots to consider when wearing/starting contact lenses. Feel free to talk with any of the experts here at Metrolina Eye Associates. We are all here to help you determine which is the best lens and usage schedule so you’re a happy contact lens wearer. Contact us at one of our three convenient locations.