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Can Daily Contact Lenses be Reused?

Contact lenses can become a bit pricey, especially daily disposable lenses, which need to be constantly replaced. This leads to the question: Can daily contact lenses be reused instead of being tossed at the end of the day? The short answer is no. The longer answer is that this is an extremely risky behaviour that can cause severe complications. 

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Can Daily Contact Lenses be Reused? Optometrist
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Reusing Contact Lenses

The main reason reusable contact lenses are preferred by some is that it means you need to buy fewer sets of lenses, which, over extended periods of time, can save no small amount of money. However, you need to be careful to only reuse contact lenses which are meant to be reused, or you risk potential eye irritation, infection, or worse.

Some of the risks associated with reusing daily disposable contact lenses include:

  • Increased risk of infection: When you reuse daily disposable contact lenses, you increase the risk of developing an eye infection. This is because the lenses may harbor bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause infections.
  • Dryness and discomfort: Reusing daily disposable contact lenses can lead to dryness and discomfort, as the lenses may not fit as well and may not allow as much oxygen to reach the surface of the eye.
  • Damage to the lenses: Reusing daily disposable contact lenses can cause the lenses to become damaged, which can make them uncomfortable to wear and may increase the risk of eye irritation.
  • Reduced visual clarity: Reusing daily disposable contact lenses can lead to reduced visual clarity because the lenses may become dirty or scratched over time.
  • Increased risk of scratching your eye (corneal abrasion): If your contact lenses become damaged, they may not fit properly on the surface of your eye and could potentially cause discomfort or injury. If the lenses shift or move, they may not conform to the shape of your cornea (the front of your eye), which can cause irritation or other issues. In some cases, damaged contact lenses may even break into fragments while in the eye, which can be difficult to remove and may cause a painful scratch on the cornea (called a corneal abrasion). If this occurs, it is important to seek emergency treatment to address the issue.
  • Increased risk of corneal neovascularization: Using daily disposable contact lenses beyond their intended lifespan can reduce the quality of the lenses and impact their ability to allow oxygen to pass through to the surface of the eye. When the cornea does not receive enough oxygen (a condition called hypoxia), it may start to swell over time due to the growth of new blood vessels (neovascularization) in an attempt to increase oxygen supply. If this swelling becomes severe, it can lead to vision loss and even blindness.
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What are Daily Disposable Contacts

Daily disposable lenses are lenses that you throw away in the trash at the end of the day after wearing them. After waking up in the morning, you open another pack of lenses. You won't have to clean or store daily lenses for next time if you choose daily lenses. These lenses are extremely thin, allow a lot of oxygen through to the eye, and contain a lot of water. The downside is that if you took them off in the middle of the day, they'd no longer be usable and you'd have to use a new pair.

Dangers of Cleaning and Reusing Lenses Improperly

Dangers of Cleaning and Reusing Lenses Improperly

Daily disposable contacts are ultra-thin, so cleaning them is ineffective-and it can actually break down the lens, increasing its chances of breaking during use. Think of it like this: a daily disposable lens is like a paper plate. The thin paper plates are great for one meal, but they easily absorb food particles and liquids (just like disposable lenses).

In a study conducted at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, disposable lenses were tested for bacteria after being worn for a day. Approximately 95% of the study participants had at least one pair of used lenses that was contaminated with harmful bacteria. In some cases, the harmful bacteria that grow on disposable lenses can cause severe side effects, including vision loss.

If you wear contact lenses, follow our eye doctor’s instructions about how often to change and replace them. Make sure your hands are clean before you touch the contacts or your eyes, and dispose of the contacts properly. Don't extend the use of your contacts beyond their set schedules. It will ensure that your eyes are in the best possible health.

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Common Questions

The duration can range from eight to 16 hours a day. It depends on your eyesight, how well you tolerate contacts, and whether or not you suffer from dry eyes. Never wear the lenses for longer than recommended by the manufacturer and our eye doctor. If you have sensitive eyes or work long hours, you might need a backup pair of glasses for taking out your daily lenses after eight hours. The length of time you can wear your lenses each day will be determined by our eye doctor.
Can Daily Contact Lenses be Reused?
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Although daily contact lenses are great, they should not be reused. Daily disposable contacts are ultra-thin, so cleaning them is ineffective-and it can actually break down the lens, increasing its chances of breaking during use. In some cases, the harmful bacteria that grow on disposable lenses can cause severe side effects, including vision loss.

Don't extend the use of your contacts beyond their set schedules. It will ensure that your eyes are in the best possible health. Always remember that contact lenses are an FDA regulated medical treatment, improper usage can potentially lead to vision threatening conditions. 

If you have any additional questions, or would like to schedule a contact lens fitting, you can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.

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