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How Long Can You Actually Wear Contact Lenses?

Eyeglasses or contact lenses?

People are surprisingly passionate about which side they’re on! Love them or hate them, contact lenses come with their own set of pros and cons over wearing eyeglasses.

Here are some tips for wearing contacts:

Keep your Contact Lenses Clean

Contact lenses come from the manufacturer with a recommended usage timeline. They come with an expiration date, and more information about how to wear them can be obtained by asking your eye care professional. Typically, daily contact lens use requires daily sterilization. Lenses come pre packaged in a solution to keep the lenses moist and debris-free. After use for the day, contacts must be submerged in the correct solution to soak and clean. The lens case they are stored in must also be cleaned frequently.

Store Them Properly

Failure to properly store and maintain your contact lenses can cause damage to the lens, or expose your eye to foreign debris. A torn contact can cause very painful ocular complications, like a scratched cornea. Exposure to foreign debris can also be very painful, and can even require surgery in rare cases.

How Long Can You Wear Contact Lenses For?

Close up woman applying contact eye lens. Close up woman applying contact eye lens contact lenses stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

So, how long can you wear contact lenses for routine daily use? First off no contacts are recommended for sleeping in. Lots of people break this rule––according to the CDC, up to 90% of contact users do not care for their lenses properly. Contacts are typically worn up to 8-16 hours, and are supposed to be cleaned and soaked in solution. There are a few different types of contact lenses and each with their own optimal care schedule:

Soft Contact lenses

Should not be worn overnight, should be soaked in solution overnight, and can be worn up to 8-16 hours if it does not strain your eye. Everyone’s sensitivity to lenses is different.

Disposable Lenses

Disposable lenses come with an advised manufacturer timeline. Their chemical construction makes them more prone to bacterial buildup, and they are typically disposed of after use. Recommended use is up to 8 hours, depending on your eye comfort.

Extended Wear Contact Lenses

Extended wear lenses can typically be worn between 1-4 weeks with proper care and maintenance. Consult with your eye care provider if you experience any discomfort, because eyes are not one-size-fits-all. Your sensitivity may be different than others. Extended wear lenses are not advised to be worn overnight and must be treated and sanitized daily.

Hard Contact Lenses

In some cases, individuals are still prescribed hard contact lenses. Hard contact lenses have come a long way in recent history, and are made with a much more breathable, durable material. They have the disadvantage of coming loose from the center of the eye. They are to be removed and cleaned every day. They can last up to 2 years with care, and a checkup is recommended every 6 months.

If you are going to handle your contacts in any way, make sure you wash and dry your hands beforehand. This is a simple step to maintaining eye health and protecting your contact lenses. On average, your contact lenses are good for anywhere between 1 week to a month. It depends on the durability of that particular type of lens, and on your own personal lens sensitivity.

If the nightly cleaning ritual is too much of a hassle, remember that you have other options!


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