Are Reusable Contact Lenses as Safe as Disposable Contacts?
Americans are busier than ever before. A multitude of distractions make it harder than ever to juggle our work and personal lives. It can even put pressure on the finer details of your morning routine. From getting dressed to putting our contacts in, we’re always looking for ways to save time.
Luckily, you can find a contact lens that fits your preferred schedule and lifestyle. There are many brands and distributors out there. But almost all contact lenses are one of two varieties: reusables and daily disposables.
People wear reusable contact lenses for a certain number of hours each day until they expire. Daily disposable contacts are thrown away after a day of wear them. But is one better for your eye health than the other? Read on to find out about the health effects and safety of reusable contact lenses.
The Benefits of Reusable Contact Lenses
Both varieties of contact lenses are very popular among consumers. Reusable contacts have their own specific set of benefits that people enjoy.
One of the biggest ones is the cost. Reusable contacts last longer, meaning you’ll make fewer purchases over the course of a year. Depending on the lifespan of the lens you choose, you might need only 12 to 52 pairs of reusables to get you through the year. With dailies, if you wear them every day (some people wear glasses some days and daily contacts on other days), that’s up to 365 pairs per year (thank goodness for simple math!).
Reusable contact lenses also have many design benefits. This kind of lens is thicker and more durable, meaning they’re less likely to tear. The material of these contacts allows more oxygen into your eyes to keep them moist and healthy. This creates a more comfortable wearing experience.
Safety Concerns With Reusable Lenses
There’s nothing unsafe about reusable lenses if you take care of them in the proper fashion. And yet, many Americans find themselves with eye infections due to their misuse of reusable contact lenses.
You need to remove them each night and store them in a contact lens case. It's very important to clean and soak your contact lenses in solution every night. If you don't do this, you'll be struggling with protein buildup, germs, dirt, or other infectious particles.
These can lead to a condition called keratitis, also known as an inflammation of the cornea. It can be painful for your eyes and, in worst-case scenarios, permanently blinding. Sleeping in contact lenses overnight can also increase the odds of keratitis. So keep it at bay by properly cleaning your lenses and taking them out before you sleep.
How Common Is Keratitis?
Improper contact lens care causes over one million eye infections each year. Caring for these eye infections can be expensive. The costs related to treating keratitis are as high as $175 million a year. Those infected may also need to take time away from work, school, or other obligations to recover. So while reusable contacts are cheaper up front, their misuse can pose a risk of higher costs down the line.
Symptoms of keratitis include eye redness, pain, and frequent tearing. Blurred vision or difficulty keeping your eye open are signs of more serious cases. Those who are suffering from keratitis may feel as if there’s a physical object in their eye. This feeling is a result of corneal abrasions; there’s no actual object in there. With proper care, keratitis and infection are avoidable. But reusable lenses, by their very nature, open the door for misuse and poor care in a way that dailies don't.
Practicing Proper Contact Lens Care
No matter what variety of contact lens you use, it's essential to practice proper care. Failure to do so always puts the health of your eyes at risk. For the above reasons, it's essential that you take extra caution when using contacts.
Make sure to wash, rinse, and dry your hands to get rid of any bacteria. To clean your contacts, use only sterile solutions intended specifically for them. Ensure that you use a solution made for the brand of contact that you wear.
Before inserting your contacts, rub the lenses with contact solution. This helps to make the cleaning process more effective. It keeps the lenses clear of bacteria and other dangerous materials.
Always follow your eye doctor's cleaning and wearing guidelines. Never wear any kind of contacts to sleep, whether they’re daily or reusable. Also, avoid wearing contacts when going swimming. Wearing contacts to sleep, or in the pool, can increase the risk of keratitis. Both create favorable conditions for bacteria to thrive in your eyes.
Replace your contacts on a proper schedule and get a new contact lens case every three months to keep things clean and fresh. When placing the contacts in your case, squirt fresh solution in every time. Never reuse the solution from the previous day.
Practicing the above contact lens care methods can reduce the risk of eye infection or injury. Failure to follow such procedures can put your eye health in serious danger.
The Right Contacts for You
Reusable contact lenses can come with a higher health risk when compared to dailies. But they remain the preferred choice for many contact lens wearers. Understanding the risks and benefits associated with both varieties can help you make an educated decision on what is best for you.
Regardless of the type of contact lens you’re thinking getting, be sure to speak with your eye doctor. They’ll help you determine the best choice for you based on your lifestyle and budget.
Check out more articles in our blog for eye care tips, tricks, and advice.