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Day & Night Contact Lenses: Are They Safe?

Extended-wear contacts (commonly referred to as day and night contacts lenses) are generally considered safe. They can be worn for 24 hours a day for up to 30 days in a row. 

However, there are some risks associated with wearing these sorts of contact lenses for an extended period of time. These risks are enhanced if lenses are worn longer than recommended by an eye care professional.

What Are Day & Night Contact Lenses?

Day and night contact lenses are often referred to as extended-wear (EW) and continuous wear contacts. These contact lenses are specifically designed to be worn day and night. They have been deemed suitable for overnight wear.

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How Day & Night Contact Lenses Work?

Day and night lenses differ from traditional contact lenses predominantly because of the materials used during manufacturing and production. Extended-wear contacts are composed of silicone hydrogel, which is a soft material that is more breathable than conventional contact lens materials. 

Day and night contact lenses have been approved by the FDA. They allow up to six times more oxygen to permeate the lens when compared to other contact lens options.

Are Extended-Wear Contact Lenses Safe?

Even though extended-wear contacts have been approved as safe for use by the FDA, there are certain risks that come along with wearing these sorts of lenses.

In addition, there are risks associated with wearing all types of contact lenses that might not necessarily apply to individuals who wear glasses, such as risk of infection, scratching the eye, and eye dryness.

Day and night contacts are made of materials that absorb more water than traditional contact lenses. These types of contact lenses are extremely pliable and fit on the eyes easily. The contacts are designed to be comfortable, convenient, and provide a hygienic option for people who wear contact lenses on a daily basis.

Silicone hydrogel has been used since the early 1990s, so there is plenty of data supporting its use.

Potential Complications & Risks

It’s important to understand that there are risks associated with wearing all types of contact lenses available on the market today. Adverse events are rare in occurrence and often related to improper use of the lenses.

Potential risks associated with extended wear lenses include the following:

  • Infection
  • Corneal edema
  • Irritation
  • Vision problems, such as blurriness or haziness

Corneal erosion and inflammatory response are risks associated with all types of contact lenses and extended wear contact lenses carry the same risk. For those who experience any of these symptoms, immediate medical intervention is necessary. 

If you wear day and night contact lenses and are having problems with your vision, it’s important to abstain from wearing contacts until you can consult with a medical professional.

Extended-Wear Contact Lens Effectiveness

Efficacy of day and night contact lenses varies from individual to individual, and certain candidates may not be eligible for continuous wear lenses. As with any kind of contact lens, those who have experienced eye infections repeatedly in the past or who suffer from severe and/or chronic allergies are most likely not eligible to use extended-wear lenses.

In this day and age, comfort and convenience are king, and extended-wear contact lenses allow individuals to wear their contacts longer in lieu of removing lenses at night and putting contacts in again the following day. Those who manage a busy schedule might prefer day and night contacts to glasses and other contact lens options.

According to a study in the International Journal of Current Medical and Applied Sciences, only around 16 percent of individuals who wear day and night contact lenses experienced complications, which means that over 80 percent found them effective and did not experience complications during use.

Best Day & Night Contact Lens Brands 

There is a wide array of day and night contact lenses available on the market. Here are some of the top options: 

Air Optix Night & Day Aqua

Air Optix Night & Day Aqua lenses are FDA approved. They provide a flexible wearing schedule (up to 30 days of continuous wear) for those who are on the go. This brand claims to allow more oxygen to reach the eye than any other brand.

Biofinity

Biofinity monthly lenses are silicone hydrogel lenses that have been approved for extended wear. These kinds of lenses can be worn for seven days and six nights continuously. 

Acuvue 2

Acuvue 2 features a design that fits the eye as precisely as possible. These are considered two-week daily wear lenses. Acuvue 2 also features UV radiation protection (Class 2 UV Blocking). 

Costs

The total cost of day and night contacts depends on frequency of use. Silicone hydrogel soft contact lenses designed for extended use often cost anywhere from $60 to $75 per box. Each box generally contains six lenses or three pairs. 

If you wear these contacts regularly, you’ll end up purchasing at least four boxes per year. The annual cost of wearing day and night contacts will then be about $240 to $300, depending on the brand selected.

Day & Night Lens Alternatives

Those who seek extended use contact lens alternatives have a variety of options, including wearing glasses or getting surgery, such as LASIK or photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). 

Other options include implantable contact lenses and orthokeratology (ortho-k). Ortho-k lenses are designed to reshape the cornea of the eye in an effort to improve vision over time.

If you are tired of wearing contact lenses regularly, talk to your eye doctor about LASIK or other laser eye surgery. They can refer you to an eye surgeon who will determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.

References

  1. Silicone Hydrogel Versus Hydrogel Soft Contact Lenses for Differences in Patient‐Reported Eye Comfort and Safety. (May 2021). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

  2. Extended Wear: Still an Option? (November 2017). Review of Cornea and Contact Lenses.

  3. Efficacy of Extended Wear Contact Lenses in Indian Climatic Conditions. (April 2015). International Journal of Current Medical And Applied Sciences.

  4. Overnight Orthokeratology. (April 2020). The Journal of the British Contact Lens Association

  5. Risk Factors for Contact Lens Bacterial Contamination During Continuous Wear. (November 2010). Optometry and Vision Science.

  6. Focusing on Contact Lens Safety. (October 2019). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Last Updated January 10, 2023

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.

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