Eye Care EducationWhen Should One Change Their Contact Lens?

Contact lenses can really improve life for people with visual impairments, but they have to be used responsibly or more problems can arise. You must be sure to get the right kind of contact lenses for your eyes, not wear them while sleeping, and keep them clean. You also need to stick to the manufacturer’s recommended lifespan of contacts before replacement is necessary. Here’s an overview of the different kinds of contact lenses, based on the period of use.

First of all, there are two basic kinds of contact lenses: soft and hard. Soft contacts are the most commonly prescribed kind, largely because they’re more initially comfortable and easier to adapt to. They can be used to correct a number of vision problems, including nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), blurred vision (astigmatism), and age-related loss of close-up vision (presbyopia.)

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contacts are made from a water-containing plastic material called hydrogel. The most popular contact lens material right now is silicone hydrogel, which is more breathable than older hydrogels. They come in the following types:

  • Daily disposable lenses: These are only recommended for one day’s use, and then thrown away.
  • Disposable lenses: These can be worn for up to two weeks before replacement. 
  • Traditional lenses: This category includes lenses that need to be replaced monthly or quarterly.
  • Overnight (extended wear) lenses: These soft lenses can be worn continuously for 30 days, even while you sleep, but debris can build up inside them, which can cause infection or irritation.

Hard Contact Lenses

The most common hard contact today is gas permeable (GP) lenses, which replaced non-porous PMMA lenses. If you take good care of them and keep them clean, hard lenses can last for two to three years. The other benefits of hard contact are:

  • Clean, clear vision
  • Durability
  • Breathability. The “gas permeable” material allows the cornea to get air, which reduces the likelihood of dry eyes.

With whatever contact lenses you end up using, always read the directions thoroughly and stick to them. This means cleaning at the proper intervals with the proper solutions, not wearing them while you’re sleeping (unless they’re especially suited for that), and replacing them at the recommended intervals. If your lenses are causing you irritation, you may need to wear them for shorter intervals than recommended. Ask your eye doctor for advice.

Why Choose the Eye Center of Northern Colorado for Pediatric Eye Care?

Dr. Sarah Galt is the Eye Center of Northern Colorado’s provider of comprehensive optometric care for pediatric patients, patients with special needs, and adults with binocular vision anomalies. Whether your child has been going to the eye doctor for years or it’s their first appointment, our pediatric team in Northern Colorado is the best choice for your family and your child’s eye care needs. Contact us today if you have any further questions about our pediatric eye care services or want to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!

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