What Are Extended Wear Contacts?
Extended wear contacts are a relatively new and popular type of contact lens that can last from one to six days, or even up to 30 days. They may also be referred to as continuous-wear contact lenses.
These lenses differ from daily, weekly, and monthly contact lenses, which must be taken out before going to bed. Many people choose extended wear contacts to wear soft contact lenses overnight or for many days.
Extended wear lenses are becoming more popular because of their convenience and flexibility. However, continuous wear will range according to a professional’s recommendations and the product itself. It will also depend on your eye health.
Be sure to consult your eye doctor before sleeping in any contact lenses.
5 Best Extended Wear Contacts
Here are 5 of the best extended wear contact brands:
Air Optix Night & Day Aqua contact lenses are FDA-approved for daily wear and up to 30 nights of continuous wear*. This allows you to create a flexible wear schedule that can adapt to any busy lifestyle. The high oxygen permeability also allows more oxygen flow than any other soft contact lens.
- Flexible wearing schedule
- FDA-approved for daily wear and up to 30 nights of continuous wear
- Material: 76% lotrafilcon A; 24% water
- Manufacturer: Alcon
*Important Safety Information: Not all patients can wear the lenses for extended wear. Approximately 80% of patients are able to wear the contacts during the day and at night. Always follow an eye care professional’s recommended lens wear, care, and replacement schedule. Overnight wear of contact lenses has been shown to increase the risk of certain serious contact lens–related complications. See more AIR OPTIX Safety Information.
Biofinity monthly lenses use exclusive Aquaform® Technology developed by CooperVision. The Aquaform® Technology contributes to the comfort and breathability of the lenses. These silicone hydrogel monthlies are approved for extended wear. This means you can wear them for 6 nights/7 days of continuous wear.
- Aquaform® Technology
- Extended wear (if recommended by your doctor)
- Material: 52% comfilcon A; 48% water
- Manufacturer: CooperVision
Johnson & Johnson offers two-week daily wear (or one-week extended wear) for those seeking comfort and clear vision. Its INFINITY EDGE™ Design allows the lens to fit the eye more precisely. This type of soft lens wear also protects the eye from UV radiation with Class 2 UV Blocking properties.
- INFINITY EDGE™ Design fits your eye and provides a soft lens wear feeling
- UV Protection
- Material: 42% etafilcon A; 58% water
- Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson
AIR OPTIX for Astigmatism contacts can only be worn for extended wear (24 hours, including while you sleep) if directed by your eye doctor.
- Flexible and customizable wearing schedule
- PRECISION BALANCE 8|4® Lens Design to keep lenses from rotating
- Material: 67% lotrafilcon B; 33% water
- Manufacturer: Alcon
*Important Safety Information: Not all patients can wear the lenses for extended wear. Approximately 80% of patients are able to wear the contacts during the day and at night. Always follow the eye care professional’s recommended lens wear, care, and replacement schedule. Overnight wear of contact lenses has been shown to increase the risk of certain serious contact lens–related complications. See more AIR OPTIX Safety Information.
PureVision2 Multi-Focal For Presbyopia are visibility-tinted contact lenses. They are approved for daily wear or extended wear from 1 to 30 days.
- 3-Zone Progressive Design
- Approved for extended wear up to 30 days if approved by your eye doctor
- Material: balafilcon A 64%; 36% water
- Manufacturer: Bausch + Lomb
Who Should Use Extended Wear Contact Lenses?
Disposable extended-wear offers a convenient option for contact lens patients.10 Certain lifestyles or those with certain eye conditions may be more inclined to choose extended wear lenses.
It can help correct the following:
- Nearsightedness (myopia)
- Farsightedness (hyperopia)
- Presbyopia (age-related farsightedness)
Remember that not everyone is a good candidate for continuous wear lenses. Only a qualified eye doctor can tell you if you are eligible to wear these contact lenses.
Benefits of Extended Wear Contact Lenses
Extended wear contact lenses can offer many advantages to those who use contacts.
These benefits include:
- FDA-approved for up to 30 days in some cases.
- No need for removal for up to 6 nights.
- Little or no cleaning in extended-wear disposable contacts.
- Availability in tints and bifocals.
- Increased flow of oxygen to the cornea for ensured comfort and less irritability.
- Vision correction that is equal to glasses or standard contact lenses.
- Saves time since they require less cleaning and handling.
Risks & Complications of Extended Wear Contacts
You should consult an eye care specialist before using extended wear contacts. They can increase the risk of infection and serious eye health conditions.
Some of the complications are as follows:
Keratitis is a type of inflammation that can be caused by an infection from wearing contact lenses. The cornea (the clear, outer layer of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber) becomes inflamed or swollen.
Those who suffer from the condition will experience difficulties with their vision. In more severe cases, keratitis can result in blindness or the need for a corneal transplant.
Corneal neovascularization occurs when new blood vessels invade the cornea due to inflammation or hypoxia.
In less severe cases, there may be persistent inflammation and scarring that affect corneal transparency and vision.
In more advanced stages, individuals may permanently lose their vision. For those with corneal grafts, corneal neovascularization may result in rejection.
Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
These are a type of infection that is commonly associated with contact lens use.
Alternatives to Extended Wear Contacts
Since not everyone can safely wear extended wear contact lenses, it’s best to discuss your options with your eye doctor. Your doctor may recommend other types of vision correction options.
Here are some alternatives to extended wear contacts:
Daily wear contacts
Daily wear contacts are ideal for those who maintain active lifestyles and aren't tolerant of overnight wear. Daily wear contacts have less risk of developing eye conditions. However, they do wear out and must be replaced more frequently.
Monthly Contact Lenses
If you prefer taking your contacts out every night, monthly contact lenses could be right for you. These contact lenses are designed to last one month at a time. Monthlies are usually made from silicone hydrogen materials, allowing more oxygen to reach the eyes.
Glasses are worn daily and provide excellent vision with minimal risks of developing eye problems. The lenses bend and manipulate light as it enters your eye. This allows them to correct refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.
Laser surgery is another option for people who cannot tolerate contact lenses. It involves reshaping the surface of the cornea using laser technology. This procedure has been shown to improve vision and reduce dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Extended wear contacts let people wear contact lens for many days. We've listed some contact lens companies that make the best extended wear contacts above.
Remember that these kinds of contacts aren't for everyone. Discuss your options with an eye doctor to know whether you can use extended wear contacts.
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Best Places to Buy Contacts
1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.
GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.
Best Places to Buy Glasses
Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.
Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.
Best on a Budget
EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.