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The most popular contact lenses on the market today are soft disposable lenses. These lenses are categorized by how often you’re supposed to replace them. The frequency of disposables depends on factors such as the lens material, oxygen transmission of the lens and the ability of the lens to resist deposits. Most contact lenses are designed for either daily disposal, 2-week disposal, or monthly disposal.
So what are the advantages of each of the different replacement schedules? Lets take a look at each of them to help you decide which might be best for you.
Daily disposable or single-use lenses are worn for one day and are thrown away at the end of the day. You then get to put in a brand new, fresh lens every morning. Daily disposable contacts represent the ultimate in health and convenience. They are the healthiest option because the lenses never get a chance to build up deposits and proteins on the surface and they reduce the chance of contamination with germs because they don’t need to be handled as much. You never have to worry about cleaning the lenses, and you don’t need to buy contact lens solution or cases.
Daily disposable lenses are ideal for children or teenagers who may not take the time to properly clean and care for longer wear lenses (have you seen a teenager’s bedroom?). They are also a great option for people who suffer from solution sensitivities or allergies. People who only wear contacts for sports or special occasions like the convenience of low maintenance and the comfort of a fresh, clean lens every time they put them in.
Daily disposable lenses tend to be a little more expensive than 2-week or monthly replacement lenses, but the difference is minimal when you take out the cost of cleaning products and factor in the convenience.
Most 2-Week disposable lenses are designed to be removed each night, cleaned and disinfected overnight, then put back in every morning for up to 14 days before being replaced. Some of these types of lenses can be worn overnight for up to one week and then should be replaced.
Some of the most comfortable and popular lenses on the market fall into the category of 2-week disposable lenses. They usually come in boxes of 6, 12 or 24 lenses.
Monthly disposable lenses are designed to be taken out at night, cleaned and disinfected, and put back in every morning for up to 30 days. There are also some monthly lenses that are specifically designed to sleep in overnight. If you think that you might want to sleep in your lenses, be sure that your doctor fits you in an appropriate lens.
There are many comfortable and healthy monthly disposable lenses on the market. Replacing lenses on a monthly basis tends to be a little easier for most people to remember than replacing them every 2-weeks. Monthly replacement lenses usually come in boxes of 6 lenses, and tend to be a little more expensive per box than the same amount of 2-week lenses, but the overall cost per year tends to be less in monthlies.
As you can see, the best lenses for you depend on how you want to wear them, how much time you want to spend taking care of them, and how much money you want to spend. There are lots of great options and different brands available in any of these types of lens replacement schedules. Your doctor can also help you to decide which is best for you.
Updated Aug 12th, 2014
Clay Mattson, O.D. has been practicing optometry at EyeMax in Nicholasville and Lexington, KY since 2000. Dr. Mattson also serves as a consultant, lecturer, author and advisor to the eye care industry and to other eye doctors.