Extended Wear Contacts

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What Are Extended Wear Contacts?

One of the more popular options of contact lenses is extended wear contacts (also called continuous wear contact lenses). As the name suggests, this type of lens lets people wear soft contact lenses overnight and/or for many days. These lenses differ from daily contact lenses, which must be taken out before falling asleep. 

Extended wear lenses are available for purchase for overnight or continuous wear. Continuous wear will range according to your eye care professional’s recommendations and the product itself. Contact lenses for continuous wear can last from one to six days, or even up to 30 days. 

Convenience and versatility are two primary reasons why many people in the United States prefer extended wear contact lenses. The material that makes up soft contacts lenses allows for improved oxygen permeability (increased flow of oxygen to the eye) and more comfort. This material comprises soft, flexible plastics like hydrogel and silicone hydrogel. Of the two plastics, silicone hydrogel delivers more oxygen to the cornea. 

Ninety percent of Americans wearing contacts use soft contact lenses. 

While this type of soft lenses can provide many benefits, it is important to understand that wearing lenses for extended periods can lead to a serious eye infection. Eye care specialists recommend that individuals sleep without the contact lenses in for at least one night before using the next set.

5 Best Extended Wear Contacts

Individuals can opt for contact lenses that are made for either overnight or continuous wear. The type of lens wear will vary according to purpose and material. 

Here are 5 of the best extended wear contact brands, available on 1800 Contacts:

Air Optix Night & Day Aqua

Air Optix Night & Day Aqua

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. They also allow more oxygen flow than any other soft contact lens.

Lens Features:

  • 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 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.

Biofinitymonthly

Biofinity Monthly

Biofinity monthly lenses use exclusive Aquaform® Technology developed by CooperVision. This lets plenty of oxygen reach your eye. It also increases their natural wettability. These silicone hydrogel monthlies are approved for extended wear. This means that you can actually wear them for 6 nights/7 days of continuous wear. (Be sure to consult your eye doctor before sleeping in any contact lenses).

Lens Features:

  • Aquaform® Technology
  • Extended wear (if recommended by your doctor)
  • Material: 52% comfilcon A; 48% water
  • Manufacturer: CooperVision
Acuvue 2

Acuvue 2

Johnson & Johnson offers a 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.

Lens Features:

  • INFINITY EDGE™ Design fits your eye and provides a soft lens wear feeling
  • UV Protection
  • Material: 52% comfilcon A; 48% water
  • Manufacturer: CooperVision
AIR OPTIX for Astigmatism

AIR OPTIX for Astigmatism

AIR OPTIX for Astigmatism contacts can only be worn for extended wear (24 hours including while you sleep) if directed by your eye doctor. Be sure to get a professional lens fitting and ask your eye care professional if extended wear contacts are right for you.

Lens Features:

  • 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.

PureVision 2 Multi Focal

Bausch + Lomb PureVision 2 Multi-Focal

PureVision2 Multi-Focal For Presbyopia are visibility tinted contact lenses. They are approved for daily wear or extended wear from 1 to 30 days. However, not everyone can wear them overnight. Speak with your optometrist to find out if you qualify for extended wear.

Lens Features:

  • 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?

Extended wear lenses are a safe, usable option for those who want to correct refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism) without compromising convenience.

It is important to consult an eye care specialist before using this type of lens wear. Extended wear of contact lens can increase the risk of infection and serious eye health conditions. Not everyone is a good candidate for continuous wear lenses. An ophthalmologist will determine if your eyes can tolerate overnight wear. 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 contact wearers, including:

  • 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.

Risks & Complications of Extended Wear Contacts

Continuous wear contact lenses may lead to 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 either inflammation or hypoxia (when not enough oxygen reaches the eye). 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) arises when the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that borders the eyelid and covers the sclera (white outer layer of the eyeball) becomes infected. The tiny blood vessels in the membrane experience inflammation and create the reddish or pink appearance in the sclera. 
  • Corneal ulcers, which is a type of infection that is commonly associated with contact lens use.

To minimize the likelihood of infections or complications, it is important to follow proper care lens instructions. Inadequate cleaning/hygiene practices and inconsistent replacement of contact lenses and contact lens cases have been associated with a higher risk of complications. 

Daily Wear Contacts vs. Extended Wear Contacts

When compared to one another, both soft daily wear and extended wear contacts have benefits and drawbacks. 

Daily wear contacts are ideal for those who maintain active lifestyles and do not have a tolerance for overnight wear. Daily wear contacts do not pose the same risk of developing eye conditions as extended wear contact lenses do. However, unlike extended wear contact lenses, daily wear contact lenses do wear out and must be replaced more frequently.

Similarly, while daily wear contact lenses do not need a long adaptation period, extended wear contact lenses require handling that may be more challenging at first.

Regardless, wearing contact lenses is not the same as wearing eyeglasses. Contact lens wear can influence how the eye functions.  Even though many do not experience problems with wearing contact lenses, it is important to consult an eye care health specialist, especially before purchasing extended wear contact lenses.  Eye care professionals will be able to assess the eye’s tolerance for overnight wear and explain the benefits, risks, and alternatives. 

Vision Center Recommends 1800Contacts

1800Contacts has a huge selection of contact lenses and award-winning 24/7 customer service.

Resources
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“Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Types of Contact Lenses.” American Optometric Association, www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/contact-lenses/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-various-types-of-contact-lenses.

“Biofinity® Family.” CooperVision®, coopervision.com/contact-lenses/biofinity-family.

Boyd, Kierstan, et al. “Contact Lens-Related Eye Infections.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 23 June 2020, www.aao.org/salud-ocular/consejos/contact-lens-related-eye-infections.

Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Contact Lens Risks.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/medical-devices/contact-lenses/contact-lens-risks.

“Extended Wear of Contact Lenses - 2013.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 21 Nov. 2016, www.aao.org/clinical-statement/extended-wear-of-contact-lenses.

“Eye Care Products & Professional Resources: Johnson & Johnson Vision.” Eye Care Products & Professional Resources | Johnson & Johnson Vision, www.jnjvisionpro.com/.

“Fast Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 July 2018, www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/fast-facts.html.

“Our Products.” Bausch + Lomb, www.bausch.com/our-products/contact-lenses/lenses-for-nearsighted-farsighted/purevision2-contact-lenses.

“Treatment of Corneal Neovascularization.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 5 May 2016, www.aao.org/eyenet/article/treatment-of-corneal-neovascularization.

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