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Extended Wear Contact Lenses GuideMedically reviewed by Tina Patel, Contact Lens Optician at Feel Good Contacts.
Extended wear lenses are generally available as a two- weekly or monthly lenses. There are also extended wear lenses for those who need toric lenses for astigmatism and multifocal lenses for presbyopia. Major manufacturers such as Bausch and Lomb, Cooper Vision and Alcon all make their own variation of extended wear lenses. All extended wear lenses will have a silicone hydrogel makeup to allow for the high level of breathability required to wear them for a longer period of time. It is important to note that not all silicone hydrogel lenses have approval for use as extended wear.
Silicone hydrogel allows up to 6 times more oxygen to enter the eye. As you will be sleeping in these lenses, it is highly important for your eyes to have a healthy supply of oxygen and a high level of hydration.
If you’re thinking of using extended wear lenses, we have created a quick guide to get you started.
How do I know when it’s time to change my contact lenses?
Each extended wear lens will have its own guide as to how long it should be worn. Never wear a lens past the time frame as stated by the manufacturer. As everyone’s eyes differ, it could be that you are unable to wear the lenses for as long as stated. If you begin to feel discomfort at any point during the guide time given, it is highly advisable that you take the lenses out. There is also nothing stopping you from taking your lenses out for a clean and reinserting them if your start to experience build up or blurry vision. If you experience discomfort at any time while you are wearing lenses, you should remove your lenses and seek advice from your optician immediately.
Even if lenses are extended wear, they should be not be worn whilst in the shower. We suggest taking the lenses out whilst you shower to avoid infections such as Acanthamoeba Keratitis.
Can you wear 2-week contacts longer?
You should not wear two-weekly contact lenses longer than two weeks. Always follow the manufacturers guides. Of course, if your lenses start feeling uncomfortable beforehand, take them out. It is worth mentioning that a 2-weekly lens that can be worn for two weeks, provided they are removed, cleaned and stored each night but, may only be approved for one week of continuous wear. Pay careful attention to what is stated on the packaging by the manufacturer. If unsure about wearing times, always consult with your optician.
What are the dangers of wearing two-weekly lenses longer?
Wearing two-weekly lenses longer than the proposed wearing time can lead to a number of issues including dry eyes, the build-up of deposits, blurry vision, and eye infections. It is not advisable that you wear two-weekly or extended lenses longer than their suggested wearing time. Avoid these complications by following the advice of you optician and suggested guidelines from the manufacturer.
How long can you wear 30-day contacts?
Standard monthly lenses can be worn for up to 30 days from the first day of opening, provided they are taken out, cleaned and stored each night in fresh solution. These lenses are not suitable for continuous wear unless stated by the manufacturer.
Are monthly contacts good for 30 days or 30 wears?
Once lenses have been opened, they can only be kept and used for up to 30 days. Monthly lenses can only be worn for a maximum of 30 days from the first day of opening and two weeklies for up to two weeks from opening.