The number of Americans who wear contact lenses is estimated to be 40.9 million, and the cost of contact lenses worldwide is estimated to be over $8.5 billion per year. Due to the increasing demand for contact lenses there are continuous improvements in the design and materials of contact lenses.

One of the questions that many patients wonder is when, if ever, they should consider changing their lens brand, lens design, or lens material.

Contact lenses are made from a variety of materials. There are some that allow more oxygen to pass through to your cornea than others. Nowadays, most people wear silicone hydrogel contact lenses, which allow more oxygen to pass through to your cornea.

Why might our eye doctor recommend changing your contact lens?

Oxygen permeability

Your cornea, which is the front part of your eye and where your contact lens sits, does not have any blood vessels. The only way your cornea gets oxygen is either through air or your tears. By wearing a contact lens, you're now creating another barrier to oxygen. People who do not wear contact lenses made of silicone hydrogel materials feel stress and strain on the eye among other symptoms due to insufficient oxygen getting to the eye. This is one of the major reasons our eye doctor may suggest changing your contact lenses so that your eye gets enough oxygen and does not feel strain. Contact lenses made from these materials are much healthier for your eyes than those made from other materials.


Your lifestyle is another reason why our eye doctors recommend changing your contact lenses. Often we will recommend a daily contact lens, which is thrown at the end of the day, primarily because you use a fresh lens every day. It may not be the cheapest or most convenient option but it certainly is a healthier and more convenient option for your eyes.

Another option is biweekly contact lenses, which can be worn up to 14 times. For example, if you do not wear them every day, it does not mean you have to throw them out after 14 days, they can be worn 14 times.

Then there are monthly contact lenses which are the most convenient as you have to change those after a month.

Additionally there are contact lenses called OrthoK lenses that are worn while sleeping at night and offer a surgery free alternative to LASIK. They gently reshape your eye while sleeping, leaving the patient with excellent vision during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses. OrthoK lenses can be a great option for a patient who enjoys wearing contacts over glasses, but struggles with wearing contact lenses all day due to their lifestyle.

How long can you wear your contact lenses safely?

It is not exactly known how long you can wear your contact lenses before they start causing problems, and it may differ a little from person to person. Nevertheless, if you wear your contact lenses long enough, natural oils and dirt in the air start to deposit on them. As well as obstructing oxygen, this is also going to be uncomfortable for your eyes since your lids are going over an unclean and unclear surface. You can soak the lenses in the lens solution or rub them gently to remove those deposits. So the longer you wear your contact lenses, the more discomfort you will experience and have less clear vision as well. Therefore, it is recommended to alternate wearing contact lenses with glasses every now and then.

One of the reasons a person may consider switching their contact lenses is due to experiencing discomfort from overuse, therefore they look for a lens with more oxygen permeability. Another reason may be that they find it difficult to ensure that their lenses are always kept clean, and experience discomfort or unclear vision from lenses with built up deposits.

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