Extended wear contact lenses are contacts that can be worn overnight or continuously. The “wear” term refers to wearing schedule. It’s about how long you wear your contact lenses: daily or overnight.
- Daily wear: With daily wear lenses, you remove, clean and disinfect the lenses each night and the next morning you reinsert them to your eyes.
- Extended wear: You wear continuous wear contact lenses day and night for up to 7 days at a time. You can then remove, clean, and disinfect the lenses and make your eyes have a rest for at least one night before you reinsert the lenses again.
The overnight contact lenses need to allow oxygen to get through your eyes. Ideally, the amount of oxygen is equal to the amount you get when you are not wearing contacts. This makes your eyes healthy because lack of oxygen reaching your eyes may increase the risk of eye infections.
In the United States, the FDA has approved extended wear lenses to be worn for up to seven days. These continuous wear lenses are made from silicone hydrogel materials. The materials allow far more oxygen to get through the eye than most conventional extended wear contact lenses.
Replacement Schedule or Wearing Schedule?
Wearing schedule is different from replacement schedule. Replacement schedule is how often you discard your lenses — whether they are planned/frequent replacement or disposable contact lenses.
But wearing schedule is how often you remove your contacts, which don’t necessarily dispose them. The wearing schedule can be daily or extended depending the manufacturer’s material specifications.
Flexible Wear to Minimize Eye Infections
Based on CIBA Vision studies, extended wear contacts are not for everyone. Patients with previous vision health issues may not be good extended wear candidates.
What if you aren’t a good candidate to sleep in contact lenses? Wear extended wear lenses as daily wear lenses. Or, you may want to wear them as occasional overnight. Using the flexible wearing schedule you can get the benefits of overnight wear contacts without experiencing red or irritated eyes.
Continuous Wear Lenses for Presbyopia
Today you can find multifocal contact lens brands that offer continuous wearing schedule for up to six consecutive nights or 7 days. Whether you are at early presbyopia or at later stage of presbyopia and you want extended wear contact lenses, just ask your eye doctor to fit you with the following brands: