Soft disposable contact lenses were designed to be a healthier and more convenient approach to contact lens wear. Their introduction revolutionized the way people wore contact lenses. The majority of today’s lenses are disposable because they are convenient and affordable.
Disposable contacts are replaced every week or several months. Their length of wear depends on the type of material, the lens design, how the lens is worn, and how the person responds to contact lenses.
Since the introduction of contact lenses over 50 years ago, companies have worked to design a perfect lens that provided excellent optics, comfort, no care, and no deposits on the lens. The result was the daily disposable, which is used once and thrown away. It also works well for people who choose not to wear their lenses regularly.
Disposable lenses are ideal for people whose eye allergies leave deposits on their lenses. They’re also convenient for teens or other people who don’t want to spend a lot of time taking care of their contact lenses. Disposable lenses promote good eye health with regular replacement of worn lenses and provide easy, convenient care for the wearer.
In addition to daily use, disposables come in styles that are discarded weekly or every two weeks. Frequent replacement contact lenses are also disposable, but are normally discarded monthly to quarterly.
Some reasons and situations for which disposable lenses may be useful include:
- Rapid deposit formation on lenses.
- Frequent lens replacement because of lens deterioration, damage, or loss of lenses.
- Sensitivity to solutions used to clean or disinfect lenses.
- Difficulty finding another type of lens that is equally comfortable.
Some problems associated with disposable lenses include:
- A higher risk of infection.
- A higher cost than most lenses.
- A tendency by a wearer to abuse the use of the lenses, such as wearing them for more than two weeks, or wearing the lenses in situations not usually recommended, such as swimming.
- Poorer vision. The lenses are very thin and correct very little astigmatism.
- Problems using the lens with dry eye. Disposable lenses require more eye fluid to keep them hydrated.
- There are situations where disposable lenses are appropriate and situations where they should be avoided. Exercising caution with the use of any contact lens helps prevent complications.
In general, optometrists say, contact lens wearers should be on the alert for three possible warning signs:
- Eyes that feel dry or gritty,
- Eyes that look red or irritated, and
- Vision that is not clear with contacts in place.
- Your eye doctor can help you pick the best lens and the best disposable or frequent replacement wear schedule for your needs.