Q. Can you explain what the difference is between contact lenses that can be worn for a month vs. those that can are meant to be worn for a day, are they made of different materials?
A. Usually, there is a significant difference between materials or the design of the material. A daily disposable lens can be more fragile and lose moisture faster than a lens recommended to be replaced every 2 weeks or monthly. The modulus or stiffness of the material and oxygen permeability vary also. Finally, some are the same materials as other lenses replaced less often, but the edge design or thickness may be different. All lenses are tested and approved by the FDA for daily, biweekly, monthly or quarterly replacement safety. Some lenses have been tested for monthly replacement but are only approved for biweekly, etc.
Daily disposables are also called single-use disposables since they are made to be used one day only, without sleeping in the lens, but thrown away at the end of the day. An average wear time should be no more than 12 hours. Wear time also depends on the patient’s eye health and history.
Q. Please clarify the difference between what we are speaking about, replacement frequency, vs. daily wear or extended wear contacts, which is an issue of wearing schedule.
A. Replacement frequency means how often the lenses should be thrown away. Once the lenses are taken out of their sterile packaging they should be replaced per the recommended schedule even if they are not worn every day. Daily wear means worn only during the day. Extended wear means contacts that are worn during the day and overnight for an extended period of time. Wearing lenses extended wear increases the risk of infection and inflammation by 6 to 8 times for most eyes. There are only a few extended wear lenses approved to be worn 30 days without removal.
Q. Are there advantages to single-use contact lenses? What are they?
A. Single use contact lenses are the healthiest way to wear disposable contacts because the patient uses a fresh, clean lens every day. Even so, there are still risks of infection and inflammation with any type of contact lens.
Q. What do you find in particular, most exciting about single-use contact lenses, that brings you to recommend them to the patients in your care?
A. Knowing that our patients are wearing a fresh lens every day and that they have the lowest risk factors if worn correctly.
Q. Do you find that your patients express positive feedback about daily disposables, and what is it that they are most happy with?
A. Yes. Patients notice their eyes feel fresh with every new contact.
Q. Will it be more expensive for me if I need to use a new pair of contacts every day?
A. Single use contacts are more expensive for an annual supply than lenses replaced biweekly or monthly, but if you include the cost of cleaning solutions with less often replaced lenses the price difference isn’t as great.
Q. Are there certain conditions of the eye, or any other reason why you would specifically recommend to a patient the use of single-use contact lenses?
A. Dry eyes may do better with single-use contacts and definitely, patients with allergies do best with this type of lens.