How Often Should You Replace Contact Lenses?
- Contact lenses can get a build up of calcium, proteins, lipids, bacteria, and other things from your eyes. While cleaning solutions help, the build up will still occur over time. This makes the contact lenses uncomfortable to wear after awhile. They can also cause eye infections, so it is important to replace lenses at the proper times. Soft lenses can also tear, while hard lenses may become damaged.
- There are several types of contact lenses, and you will need to replace them based on their type. Some contacts are replaced daily, while others can last for an entire year or more.
Hard contact lenses are still in use today, but are not as common as soft lenses. They are made of a thicker, harder plastic and do not need to be replaced frequently. These lenses can make it one or two years before needing to be replaced. Take good care of them and clean them daily. Replace your hard contact lenses if they become damaged or contaminated, or if your prescription changes.
Soft contact lenses are made of a thinner material than the hard variety. They are less durable, but are usually more comfortable and easier to get used to. Soft lenses come in several different types, which determines how long they will last. Regular non-disposable soft lenses can last approximately one year if taken care of properly. However, many people use disposable soft lenses; your doctor may recommend them due to the ease of care and for their safety.
Disposable lenses are replaced more often, which means there is less time for bacteria and minerals to build up on them. Disposable lenses also come in several forms. Some people opt for daily wear lenses; these are very easy to use as they require no care. You use a new pair every day and throw them away each night. Regular disposable lenses are usually replaced every two weeks, so daily care is needed to keep them clean. There are also special contact lenses made of silicone that are replaced monthly, and do not need to be taken out at night.
- Talk to your eye doctor to determine which type of contact lenses will best fit your budget and your lifestyle. Have the doctor explain how to properly care for the lenses, and how often you should replace that type of lens. If your contacts feel uncomfortable, look cloudy or scratched, or have an odd smell, discontinue use right away and call your doctor. Your contacts may not last as long as they claim to, and it may be necessary to replace them more frequently. This is important for the health of your eyes; ask your doctor if you have any questions.