June 12, 2019
Contact lenses are an effective and convenient way to correct refractive eye errors such as near and far-sightedness and astigmatism. However, while they are extremely safe, they aren’t designed to be worn for prolonged periods of time. So how long is too long? What are the risks involved when you wear them for too long? And how do you know when it is time to take them out and give your eyes a break? Here is what you need to know about using your contact lenses properly for optimal eye health.
Why you can’t wear contact lenses round the clock
Many people who haven’t had contact lenses before don’t realize that it is actually ill-advised to wear them constantly. There is a good reason for this. Since contact lenses sit directly onto the eye and cover the entire cornea, they prevent oxygen from reaching the eyes. This is fine for some periods of time, but since good oxygen supply is crucial for keeping eyes healthy, it is strongly recommended that contact lenses are removed at night to prevent long-term oxygen deprivation. It is also essential that you care for them as directed in order to keep them in the best possible condition and ensure that your eyes remain healthy. If you have re-usable, extended-wear lenses this will mean placing them in a cleaning solution overnight, while if you have disposable lenses you can just throw them away.
Signs that you have been wearing your contact lenses too long
There are a number of different side effects of wearing your contact lenses for too long. These include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Painful eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Red eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Irritation of the eyes
- Eye ulcers
- Overgrowth of the surrounding blood vessels
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is important that you consult with your eye doctor immediately. In most instances, you will be recommended to take a break from wearing contact lenses and will instead need to rely on glasses while your eyes settle down. You may also be prescribed topical medications which will help reduce inflammation and prevent infections from developing.
Daily disposable lenses
Daily disposable lenses are a little different from conventional reusable lenses. This is because they are designed specifically to be worn once and then thrown away. In most cases, patients will place their lenses in when they wake up and then dispose of them once they go to bed. However, it isn’t unheard of for patients to fall asleep with their contacts still in. If this happens to you, you should remove them as soon as you wake up.
Replacing re-usable extended-wear contact lenses
In addition to not wearing your lenses too long in terms of the number of hours you have them in for, it is also important to recognize that the lenses themselves may potentially need to be replaced on a fairly regular basis. If you have opted for reusable contact lenses, it is important to remember that they only have a life of around 30 days before they require replacement. This is because the material that is used to create them does begin to deteriorate. This can allow other materials, including disease-causing pathogens – to infiltrate them and affect your sensitive eyes. Be certain to check with your eye doctor how long it is safe to wear your lenses for before a new pair is required.
If you would like more advice on the wearing and replacement of contact lenses, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced optometry team who will be delighted to have the opportunity to assist you.