Contact Lenses: Replace Them For Healthy Eyes

By: Amy Nutt...

Contact lenses have seen an explosion in popularity over recent years. More convenient and affordable than ever before many people are opting to take off their glasses.

For anyone wishing to make the switch to contact lenses, one of the most important things you will need to know about is the replacement schedule for your contact lenses.

What Is A Replacement Schedule?

There are two important schedules contact lens wearers need to follow in order to maintain good eye health. One is called the wearing schedule; the other is called the replacement schedule.

- The Wearing Schedule: refers to how many hours you leave your contacts in and how often you remove them, clean them and store them.

- The Replacement Schedule: refers to how often you dispose of and buy new contact lenses.

While most people understand how often to remove contact lenses (the wearing schedule), it is also very important for the health of your eyes to understand how often to dispose of and replace your contact lenses.

How Often Should Contact Lenses Be Replaced?

There are a number of different types of lenses to choose from and each has its own optimal replacement time.

- Disposable Lenses: These need to be disposed of and replaced daily, weekly or bi-weekly according to manufacturers' instructions. Most eye care professionals advocate the use of daily lenses, which are put in first thing in the morning and then removed and thrown away before sleep. This kind of a daily regime removes the danger of bacteria contaminating your contact lenses.

- Extended/Continuous Wear Lenses: The new product on the market, these are designed to be worn consistently (even while sleeping) for up to one week or one month and then discarded.

- Frequent Replacement Lenses: These are designed to be replaced monthly, quarterly, or biannually on a schedule determined by your eye care professional.

- Traditional Lenses: These are reusable and should be replaced quarterly, biannually or annually on a schedule determined by your eye care professional.

Personalize Your Schedule

Just because the box says you can re-use your contact lenses for up to two weeks doesn't mean your eyes will agree. Everyone's eyes tolerate the use of contact lenses differently and some people are more sensitive than others. This is why it is important to discuss a replacement schedule with your eye care professional and stick with it.

If you find your eyes become irritated easily then you may need a shorter replacement schedule or a different kind of lens.

Why Do We Need To Replace Contact Lenses?

Even with proper cleaning and maintenance substances such as proteins and lipids (found naturally in tears) build up over time and adhere to your contact lenses. This film can cause discomfort in the form of red, itchy eyes and also provide a place for germs to live. These germs can cause nasty infections to occur which in rare cases can destroy your cornea. That is why it is vital for continuing eye health to replace your contact lenses frequently.

Cost Versus Safety

It is important to factor in the cost of replacement contact lenses when you make the decision to wear them. Never wear lenses past their recommended usage time in order to save money. Many people who have tried this have ended up with bacterial infections that can do permanent eye damage. You also run the risk of irritating your eyes to the point where you can never wear contact lenses again.

Ensure the health and safety of your eyes and replace lenses frequently.

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