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Extended Wear Contact Lenses – The Truth | Long Island Eye Doctor

Extended Wear Contact Lenses – The Truth
Dr. Joel Kestenbaum

Extended wear contact lenses were first approved by the FDA in 1981.  At that time, they could be worn up to two weeks without removal.  Not long after this decision was handed down by the FDA, some lenses were approved for continuous wear for a month.

Unfortunately, technology was not as advanced as it is today and it was fairly common for people who slept in their contact lenses to get eye infections.  The FDA reneged on the idea that contact lenses could be continuously worn for a month and, after much study, said that a week was the longest safe time to wear them.  Then some optometrists decided that sleeping in contact lenses just wasn’t a good idea.  Because bacteria loves warm, dark, moist environments, it can grow under contact lenses, especially when eyes are closed.  Since the contact lenses were already limiting the amount of oxygen reaching the cornea, eyes had to work even harder to fight off infection.

Today’s Extended Wear Contact Lenses

Have you been considering extended wear contact lenses?  Here’s what you need to know when you visit Optix Family Eyecare Center, your Long Island Optometrists.  The eye care experts will help you answer all of your questions.

First of all, there are two types of contact lenses today: daily wear, the kind that you remove before you go to sleep, and extended wear, the ones you can sleep in.  In the United States, some contact lenses have been approved by the FDA as daily wear lenses only, and others are approved for extended wear. The difference between the two is that extended wear lenses are made of a material which allow more oxygen to get into your corneas than daily wear lenses, minimizing the old problem with infections.  With new technology, there are even contact lenses which can be worn for up to a month without removal.

Can You Really Leave Them in for Thirty Days?

The 30 day or month-long schedule does not mean that every wearer will be comfortable keeping contacts in for that long – it’s a maximum amount of time that anyone should wear one set of contact lenses without removal.  How long anyone can keep contact lenses in their eyes is very personal.  Some people can’t tolerate sleeping with these lenses overnight at all.  After your optometrist fits you for your contact lenses, and speaks to you during your follow up appointment, you will know how long your own eyes can safely tolerate continuous wear lenses.  For maximum safety, follow your Long Island eye doctor’s tips about cleaning your lenses, as well as disinfecting and disposal.

Extended wear contact lenses can correct nearsightedness and farsightedness. Some people wear them to correct astigmatism.  And surprisingly, some people wear multifocal contact lenses to correct presbyopia.

To learn more about extended wear contact lenses, make an appointment with your Long Island Optometrist at Optix Family Eyecare Center for a vision exam here: 

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