Daily disposable contact lenses, also referred to as daily contact lenses or “dailies”, are contact lenses designed to be worn for one day and then discarded. Since their introduction in 1988, they have become increasingly popular, especially when compared to reusable contact lenses. Thanks to new materials and manufacturing techniques, it is cost-effective to replace them daily, where in the past it would’ve been too expensive for most.
These should not be confused with “daily wear” lenses, which, while still disposable, are meant to be taken out at night but worn for multiple days (how long exactly will vary by brand) before they must be replaced.
The primary advantage of disposable contact lenses is that they are completely maintenance free. You put them in at the start of your day, and take them off before bed. Since no maintenance is required, you do not have to worry about lenses getting dirty or scratched, and they make it much less likely that improper care will lead to eye damage or infection.Fresh lenses daily will also ensure that there is no deterioration in your vision quality (which can be an issue even if one cleans reusable lenses).
Calcium, proteins, lipids, and other substances which are naturally found in tears can build up on lenses as they are being worn, which can make your lenses less comfortable and your eyes more infection-prone. Cleaning lenses can mitigate this, but are not fully effective, so it is preferable from a health standpoint to go with daily disposable contacts.
Additionally, since they are not worn overnight, there is no risk of them shifting uncomfortably as you sleep.
Even for those who wear contact lenses less frequently, daily disposable lenses are a better option, as you won’t need to keep track of how many times a pair has been used.
While they are overall designed to be worn for one day, the exact amount of time it is considered safe to wear disposable lenses can vary by company, but the upper ceiling is about 16 hours. If worn for too long, the material they are made from can begin to deteriorate, which will cause eye irritation.
Daily disposable contact lenses tend to be more affordable than people suspect; many spend more on their daily Starbucks coffee than they do on their lenses.
The price for a year’s worth of disposable daily lenses will be higher than that of monthly-replacement lenses, however. But the benefits in terms of both health and convenience outweigh the extra costs.
They can be used to help people who have difficulty with both near-sightedness (myopia) and far-sightedness (hyperopia). Additionally, you can purchase daily disposable lenses to treat astigmatism, and multifocal lenses can be used to mitigate the effects of presbyopia (age-related far-sightedness.) They may also help mitigate patients’ eye allergies, by allowing less time for deposits of allergens to build up. Additionally, wearing fresh lenses daily can be more comfortable for people with easily irritated eyes.
There is also a new type of daily disposables which are designed for people with dry eye sufferers, and use new materials to retain moisture. For example, the Alcon Dailies Total1 lenses use water gradient technology which approaches 100% water on the outer lens surface, providing a “cushion” of moisture for the eyes. If you suffer from dry eye, speak to our optometrist so the doctor can identify the cause of your dry eye, and recommend the most comfortable lenses for you.
Additionally, daily disposable lenses can provide some protection for your eyes against dust, and save you the time it would take to clean reusable lenses. Especially for children who may forget to clean reusable lenses, daily disposables are a better choice.
Odds are, you can. However, be sure to consult your eyecare professional with any questions, such as whether daily disposable lenses are available in your prescription. If it is outside the standard range for daily disposable lenses, you might have to stick with lenses designed to be worn for longer periods before disposal.
There are multiple options to choose from, so you can select what best suits your personal needs. If your eyes tend to be dry or are easily irritated, you will want to choose lenses that won’t lead to problems. You should seek out lenses which offer high levels of water content or oxygen permeability.
If you spend time outdoors and don’t wish to carry sunglasses to protect your eyes against UV (ultraviolet) rays, you can choose daily disposable lenses which include built-in UV protection.
Some brands offer lenses that have handling tints, which makes it easier to apply your contact lenses the right way around. These might be a better choice for someone who is new to wearing contact lenses.
Price, of course, should be factored into your purchasing choices, but you should prioritize purchasing lenses that provide the correction or protection you need over saving a bit on costs. These are your eyes, and your quality of life. Give them the best.
Our eye doctors can help you navigate the many choices and help you determine what type of contact lenses are the best fit for your eyes and lifestyle.
Daily disposable contact lenses are a comfortable and convenient choice for those who prefer contact lenses over eyeglasses, providing a number of advantages in the area of convenience. With several options available, we recommend contacting our optometrists, who can help determine what type of lenses are best for you.