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One of the more popular options of contact lenses is extended wear contacts. As its 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 contact 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.
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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.
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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.
Extended wear contact lenses is a safe, usable option for those who want to correct refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, trouble reading small print) 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. An ophthalmologist will determine if the eye’s tolerance for overnight wear makes an individual eligible to wear these contact lenses.
Extended wear contact lenses can offer many advantages to those who use the lens wear, including:
Wearing extended wear contact lenses may lead to serious eye health conditions. Some of the complications are as follows:
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.
When compared to one another, both soft daily wear and extended wear contacts have benefits and drawbacks.
Daily wear contacts is 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.
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“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.