Knowing When to Replace Your Contacts

By Amy Nutt

Wearing contact lenses requires a little more attention than using glasses. The contacts need to be cleaned and after a certain amount of use, they will need to be replaced. Your contact replacement schedule will depend entirely upon the type of contact lenses that you choose to go with.

Types of Contact Lenses There are several different kinds of contact lenses, each has a different life span and it is really a matter of personal preference as to which one you use. There are two main types, hard and soft.

Hard Lenses Hard contact lenses are rigid and cannot be used overnight. These lenses are very durable, however, and can be cleaned daily to maintain them. With proper care, hard contact lenses will last a very long time, often up to two years. However, it is possible for the harder plastic to become contaminated or end up with mineral buildup if they aren`t carefully looked after, which will shorten their life span.

In general, hard contacts will be replaced if they are lost, damaged or have become too contaminated to fix.

Soft Lenses Soft contacts, on the other hand, do not last as long since they are made of thinner material. There are far more varieties of these lenses and many people prefer them for comfort. It takes less time to get your eyes used to soft lenses than it does for hard ones.

Regular soft contact lenses should last up to a year with proper care. This means taking them out each evening like hard contacts and cleaning them. Keep in mind that the material tends to tear easily, so they need to be handled very gently while cleaning.

Daily wear lenses are just that, meant for daily use. You toss the contact lenses at the end of each day. This ensures fresh, clean and sterile ones are used in the morning and prevents infections and possible injuries due to improper cleaning, something that often occurs when people are using long term contacts.

Special silicone lenses allow you to wear them non-stop for an entire month. This is possibly the most popular option these days. You don`t need to think about your contacts, just put them in at the beginning of the month and wear them day and night for up to 30 days. These will need to be replaced each month, an easily remembered date.

It`s important to replace your contacts when needed. When older lenses are used, they can end up with bacteria and mineral buildup. When the encrustations scratch your eye, they open the path for those bacteria to creep in and cause infections. Since the eye is a very delicate organ, infections can be serious. Some even cause blindness.

Eye doctors often recommend daily use or frequent replacement lenses to prevent problems. When you use completely new and fresh lenses on a daily basis, or whenever you take out the old ones, the chances of developing issues with this type of eyewear are extremely low. It`s a good idea to check out this option if you aren`t interested in cleaning your lenses on a regular basis with contact lens solutions or dealing with the constant upkeep required.

To prevent possible problems, be sure to change your contact lenses when necessary. Not all lenses make it to the supposed change-by date, so if you notice that they seem cloudy, scratched or smell funny, toss them and replace. It might mean a little more cash outlay, but that`s well worth it to keep your eyes healthy and safe.

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