Extending Contact Lens Life

Posted on January 4, 2012 · Posted in Contact Lenses, Eye Health

An interesting question popped up the other day over on Quora regarding the use of monthly disposable contact lenses: “What will happen to my eyes if I use my monthly contact lenses past one month?”.

As a frequently encountered question in eye care, it seemed a wise topic for elaboration.  The quick answer is that extending the life of any contact lens increases risk of infection and subsequent damage to the cornea (clear front surface of the eye).  Additionally, decreased comfort, increased redness of the eyes, and decreased clarity are all likely.

All of this is a result of the contact lens material.  Modern contact lens materials break down over the course of their lifespan and this makes it much easier for bacteria and other organisms or particles to bind to the surface.  That’s why the risk of infection increases and comfort decreases.

Understand that a contact lens is a medical device being applied to, perhaps, your most important sensory organ(s).  If expense dictates extending the life of your lenses, discuss this with your eye doctor.  He/she might be able to suggest different modalities of lens wear that would result in decreased cost without increasing risk.

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