How Long Can You Wear Contact Lenses?
No, the title of “How Long Can You Wear Contact Lenses?” is not a challenge to see if you can break the record. In fact, wearing your contact lenses too long can be damaging to your eyes.
You should be able to wear most contact lenses for a full day (see the extended wear lenses below for the exception). Of course, toward the end of the day your eyes may feel dry and appear red. That’s a good time to remove them and give your eyes a rest.
Based on what’s best for your eyes and your vision, we can recommend from a wide variety of contact lens options. This includes daily disposable, daily wear, and extended wear lenses.
- Daily Disposable Lenses: These lenses are placed in your eyes each morning, taken out at night, and then tossed. This means you’re putting in new contacts every day. No lens care needed, since you won’t need to clean or store them overnight. Plus, there’s no buildup of dirt and debris, which means more comfort for your eyes.
- Daily Wear Lenses: These lenses are removed each night and require daily cleaning as well as overnight storage. There are lenses that need to be replaced every two weeks as well as monthly replacement lenses. The differences are based on the design of the lenses and their suitability to your eyes. Whichever is prescribed, it’s important to replace them on schedule.
- Extended Wear: These lenses can be worn continuously for up to six nights and seven days. There are also options that can be worn up to 30 days straight. They are made to allow greater oxygen levels to your eyes than other types of contact lenses.
All contacts lenses are made of different types of materials. They’re manufactured with pores that help hold moisture to ease the contact with your eyes. Over a short time, those pores fill with dirt and debris. That’s where your daily cleaning and soaking come into play in maintaining your lenses. Even so, over time the lenses must be replaced.
Once the selection is made, it’s vital that you follow the recommended replacement schedule.
What Can Happen If I Wear Them Too Long?
It’s not at all wise to press the limits of recommended wear times. Here’s what might happen:
- Chronic Infections: Dirt and debris collect over time in contacts and even daily, rigorous cleaning after the recommended replacement time won’t be able to remove them. This, in turn, can cause irritation and infections.
- Corneal Neovascularization: Contact lenses worn for too long or overnight can deprive the cornea of sufficient oxygen. The response is for the eye to grow more blood vessels on the cornea to provide the missing oxygen. This in turn can lead to serious cornea damage.
Even with extended wear lenses, we often recommend that you remove them before sleeping. Most eyes don't tolerate wearing contacts overnight. It’s all about making sure your eyes get enough oxygen.
It’s always a good approach to take your lenses out anytime your eyes are irritated or you're not seeing well.
We Can Help
We know what’s available and can determine what works best for your lifestyle and your eyes.
Give us a call and let’s get started providing you superb vision care.
Use our contact form or call us at 972-612-2099.
Disclaimer: The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.