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How Long Can I Wear My Contact Lenses?

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Updated January 17, 2008

Question: How Long Can I Wear My Contact Lenses?
My doctor fit me with two-week disposable contact lenses. Do I really have to throw the lenses away after two weeks of wearing them?
Answer: Yes. Many years ago, all contact lenses were yearly, conventional lenses that were meant to be worn for a year or longer. However, many complications arose because of tear composition. Some people have more protein and other materials in their tears that attach onto the contact lens, allowing a place for bacteria and other toxic substances to grow. Even patients with good hygiene habits had problems with irritation as well as comfort. Patients often reported red, inflamed and irritated eyes. Furthermore, wearing contact lenses comfortably was nearly impossible for patients with allergies.

When disposable contact lenses came onto the market, the rate of complications dropped significantly. Wearing contact lenses became much easier and more comfortable. However, if two-week disposables are worn much over the recommended wearing time, the transmission of oxygen through the contact lens to the eye drops to unhealthy levels. This increases the chance of developing inflammation and infection.

Daily disposables, contact lenses that are disposed of every day, are fast becoming the lens of choice for doctors and patients around the world. Millions of dollars go into research and development of contact lenses. Listen closely to your doctor’s recommendations, as there are reasons behind all of them. Remember that contact lenses are medical devices. Be sure to follow proper cleaning and wearing instructions to keep your eyes safe and healthy.

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