One of the most commonly asked questions at my office is "how often should I replace my contacts?" The answer really depends on the brand that you are wearing. Most soft contact lenses that are on the market are approved for either 1 day replacement, 2 weeks or monthly. It is very important to stick to the proper replacement schedule that is prescribed by your eye doctor in order to avoid eye infections, corneal ulcers and a host of other vision threatening eye conditions that can happen with contact lens over wear.
"Can I wear my contacts overnight?"
I personally believe that all contact lenses should be taken out every night. Sleeping in your contacts puts you at a much higher risk of developing adverse side effects. There are, however, a few contact lens brands that are marketed as overnight lenses (Night and Day, Purevision to name a few), but if you really want to minimize risks and maximize comfort and eye health then you should take your contacts out every night and use fresh disinfecting solution every night. Never use tap water on your contacts and never put them in your mouth or spit on them to clean them (yes, some people actually do this!). It’s also important to clean your contact lens case every night and replace your case at least every 6 months.
"I haven’t taken my contacts out for over a month and now my eyes are red!"
This is not an uncommon occurrence in my office and something that we deal with fairly regularly. The first thing that you should do is take your contacts out immediately and call your eye doctor. It may be something minor that improves just by taking your contacts out and allowing more oxygen to the eye or it could be a sight threatening condition like the one below.
Obviously this picture illustrates an extreme case, but sadly, one that optometrists see all too often. This picture is not shown as a scare tactic (well, maybe a little bit) but is meant to show that proper contact lens care and replacement is essential to your overall eye health. We are only given one pair of eyes and they need to be taken care of.
View & Download a copy of the contact lens instruction sheet that we hand out to all of our new contact lens patients here at Insights Optical. Feel free to print it out and keep it handy if you ever have any questions about the proper contact lens care regimen.