Disposable contacts were first introduced in 1987. Since then they have become one of the most popular options for contact lense wearers. They’re comfortable, safe and come in a variety of different types.
Disposables are designed to be worn and discarded either daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. But it’s important to keep in mind a distinction, that between the replacement schedule and the wear schedule. Some are designed to be worn daily and discarded daily. But some that are labeled dailies are removed daily, cleaned and stored, then reused up to their intended lifetime. That lifetime can be one week, two weeks, or even as long as a month. Make sure you note which is which when you choose your lenses.
The more often you change your contacts the lower the odds of health problems. Even the best of prescription contact lenses reduce the amount of oxygen that gets to the surface of the cornea. That ups the chances of infection. Longer wear cycles also increase the odds of corneal abrasion, conjunctivitis and other eye health issues.
However, changing lenses more frequently can increase the odds of introducing other kinds of health problems. For example, some preservative solutions can cause an allergic reaction to some contact lens users. Wearing a pair of disposables continuously for a week, then simply throwing them away, eliminates that possibility. They come packaged in a sterile solution, so they never need to be cleaned unless they’re removed and re-inserted.
Convenience is a huge factor in disposables, not surprisingly. Daily insertion and removal still requires cleaning, sterilizing and regular placement of the lens. While many contact lens wearers establish a routine, others find the practice something they would prefer to avoid. Disposables offer that option. Some are designed to be worn once and then just tossed. Many types of extended wear disposables can stay in overnight, or a week, or even up to a month.
Since those are inserted only once, they never need to be cleaned or sterilized at all. You just clean your hands, insert them, then throw them away after the wear period. No muss, no fuss. But, that convenience comes at a price.
Cost is a factor to consider and it’s not always negligible. While prices vary over time, disposables are typically more expensive over the long run. You pay for the convenience. But the daily costs are lower, since the lens is intended to be used only for a short period.
One way manufacturers can do that, of course, is to use different materials and production methods. The result is a safe, comfortable lens but one that may not provide the same optimally sharp vision that another style can.
Still, many sports enthusiasts enjoy disposables thanks to their tight fit, which results in them being very hard to knock loose. And if the quality is good enough for them, it will probably be good enough for most everyone.
Investigate your options in disposable contact lenses and you may well find one that is just right for you and your lifestyle.
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