Daily Wear Soft Contact Lenses

Daily wear soft contact lenses are the most popular type of soft contact lenses worn today. That is because they are the safest type of contact lens to wear. Thanks to easier cleaning and care solutions—as well as the invention of lenses that can actually be discarded each day—daily wear soft contact lenses are pretty convenient for most people who want to wear contact lenses.

In the 1960s soft contact lenses were unable to provide acceptable vision, especially for those with astigmatism. But new designs in the 1970s were manufactured using a computerized lathe that could cut different curves into all areas of the lens, similar to how eyeglasses are made. These were called toric lenses. Although soft contact lenses were unable to correct severe astigmatism, they worked well on most people. Today, soft contact lenses have thinner edges, making them more comfortable.

Daily wear soft contact lenses are made of hydrophilic (water containing) polymer plastic materials that are flexible and gel-like. Depending on how much water they contain and how thick they are, they can actually feel like a drop of water on your finger. These lenses allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea, which provides great comfort and makes them easy to adjust to. They can also be worn for longer periods of time and can come in different colors.

Types of Daily Wear Soft Contact Lenses

There are two types of daily wear soft contact lenses: daily disposable and disposable. Daily disposable soft contact lenses are discarded after each day, eliminating the cleaning and disinfecting processes. They are convenient for those who do not have time to clean and disinfect their lenses and storage cases. They can be more expensive, however, due to the need to replace them daily. Disposable soft contact lenses are typically worn for two to four weeks at a time and discarded thereafter. These lenses need to be cleaned and disinfected daily to prevent complications. Disposable lenses are also less expensive.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Daily Wear Soft Contact Lenses

The drawbacks include a shorter life span and an inability to correct some vision problems. Daily wear lenses must be cleaned daily and replaced regularly to prevent protein build-up in the eye. Daily wear disposable contact lenses are a bit more expensive, but they are the best option for many patients.

“Planned replacement,” or disposable soft contact lenses are a healthy and exciting option for soft contact-lens wearers. You actually only need to take minimal time to clean and disinfect these lenses each day, as you will be replacing them approximately once a week, or even every day—in which case you never need to clean or disinfect them. Daily wear disposable contact lenses are by far the most convenient, since there is virtually no care required. They are also the safest, since you will never be wearing a dirty or contaminated contact lens.

Caring for Daily Wear Soft Contact Lenses

If you wear daily disposable contact lenses, you do not have to worry about cleaning and disinfecting your lenses each day. However, you still need to care for them by keeping them in a safe place and properly discarding them when you are done with them. Never share your contact lenses with others, and call your eye care provider if unusual symptoms or changes in your vision occur.

If you use disposable contact lenses, here are some tips to keep your contact lenses clean at all times:

  • Always follow your eye doctor’s instructions for cleaning.
  • Use commercial rather than homemade cleaning solutions. Homemade cleaning solutions may cause complications such as discomfort and eye infections.
  • Do not mix different brand solutions.
  • After inserting your lenses, rinse the storage case with fresh solution and allow it to air-dry thoroughly; clean or replace your storage case regularly.
  • Do not sterilize daily disposable lenses; instead, throw them away each night.
  • Always wash your hands before handling your contact lenses.
  • Do not put your contact lenses in your mouth for any reason.
  • Do not buy bootleg contact lenses.
  • Only use fashion color lenses that have been provided by your eye doctor.

Cost of Daily Wear Soft Contact Lenses

There are several factors that determine the actual cost of daily wear soft contact lenses. These factors include:

  • Services provided by eye doctor such as diagnostic examinations, lens care kit, lens wear and care training, follow-up visits, replacement fees
  • Type of lens material
  • Brand or manufacturer of contact lens
  • Duration of wear (for example, daily disposables will always cost more than disposables due to the frequency with which they need to be replaced)
  • Type of vision insurance you have

Another consideration is how much you purchase at once. For example, wearers can choose from a thirty-day supply to a ninety-day supply when purchasing from most distributors. Typically, a thirty-day supply can range in price from $15.00 to $30.00, while 90-day supplies may range from $45.00 to $75.00. Some distributors may give you a deal and lower the cost of each box if you buy a twelve-month supply. Talk with your eye care provider about the most cost-effective contact lenses for your needs.

Are Daily Wear Soft Contact Lenses Right for You?

It is important to know that not all vision-correction products can fix all types of vision problems. All contact-lens wearers should have realistic expectations. Daily wear soft contact lenses do not correct all vision problems, and vision acuity is usually not as sharp as with other types of contact lenses (e.g., RGP lenses). Regular office visits are necessary, and even well-maintained lenses almost always need to be replaced eventually. Typically, daily wear soft contact lenses are good for those who:

  • Have myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Have astigmatism
  • Have the time to clean and disinfect lenses daily
  • Can follow their eye doctor’s instructions on wearing schedule and cleaning
  • Can commit to more frequent visits to their eye doctor
  • Do not want to wear eyeglasses during normal activities
  • Want a more natural appearance

Talking to Your Eye Doctor

Here are some questions to ask your eye doctor about daily wear contact lenses:

  • Based on my vision correction needs, do you think daily wear soft contact lenses are right for me?
  • Which type of daily wear lens would work best for me?
  • Can I have a copy of my replacement schedule?
  • Can you teach me the correct way to clean and disinfect my lenses?
  • Which cleaning and disinfecting products do you recommend?
  • Which homemade solutions do you recommend for cleaning and disinfecting my lenses?
  • How often should I schedule follow-up visits?
  • If changes occur before my next visit, should I wait for my appointment or contact you immediately? Which changes should prompt me to contact you immediately?
  • Which diagnostic tests should I expect during follow-up visits?
  • How much will my contact lenses cost?
This article was last updated on 09/2014