Did you know under California law, a contact lens prescription can be valid for up to two years before it expires?
With the numerous types of contact lenses, which include daily disposables, bi-weekly lenses, monthly lenses, and extended wear lenses, it can be difficult to keep track of how many hours a day you can wear your contact lenses with each lens. Due to the different materials that contact lenses are made of, oxygen permeability varies with different types of contact lenses that can be prescribed by your doctor. Monthly lenses are made with a thicker material compared to bi-weekly and daily disposable contact lenses, which gives it more durability for more days of wear. However, this may also reduce the oxygen permeability. Daily disposables are made of a thinner material that are more permeable to oxygen for a full day of comfortable wear, but are not meant to be reused. With the various types of materials and oxygen permeabilities, the recommended number of hours that you should wear your contact lenses varies from person to person.
How many hours a day can I wear my contacts?
Individuals vary in sensitivities to contact lenses and tear film make up, which play a role in
determining the number of hours you should be wearing your contact lenses a day. In addition,different work and living environments may also play a factor to your contact lens sensitivity. Usually, a full day of wear should not be a problem, unless your optometrist suspects dry eyes or other eye health related signs. Upon evaluation, your optometrist will recommend a time period best suited for you from information gathered about the overall health of your eyes,your lifestyle, and the type of contact lenses you are prescribed.
Typically, daily disposable contact lens wearers can wear their contacts for up to 14 to 16 hours due to comfort and oxygen permeability of the contact lens. Taking them out a couple hours before bedtime is recommended to allow for more oxygen flow into the eye without a lens. Most lenses should not be worn while sleeping, which may increase the risk of an eye infection. There are, however, FDA-approved monthly extended wear lenses that can be worn overnight. Risks for overnight wear contact lenses will always be higher for causing an eye infection due to the lens remaining stagnant, and should be properly taken care of if any signs of discomfort arise. By following your eye care professional’s recommendations of a certain number of hours of contact lens wear, you can help maintain the safety and the health of your eyes.
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