With the increased affordability and availability of LASIK eye surgery, it’s interesting that contact lenses are still the most popular option when it comes to eye wear because of convenience and cost. This is especially important for young people who are looking for a glasses-free solution but are not old enough for laser correction surgery.
“The biggest trend in contact lenses right now, which is much different than even when I started practicing 10 years ago, is the daily disposable contact lens,” says Deanna M. Ritenour, doctor of optometry at Beach Eye Care, with offices in Hilltop, Great Bridge, Sandbridge and Town Center in Virginia Beach. “They have been around for a while, but there have been lots of new daily disposable lenses that have come out to help patients with dry eyes, for instance.”
These most recent daily disposable lenses have a better wetting agent or water molecule included so patients can wear them for longer periods of time with fewer problems. Obviously, in this digital age where people have digital eye strain from looking at computers, smart phones, tablets or even gaming screens, this is an ever-increasing benefit.
It’s important to note that there is a difference between “daily wear” and “daily disposable” lenses. A daily wear lens is one that needs to be removed before sleeping because it is not FDA approved for extended/overnight wear. Such a lens may be replaced daily, weekly, monthly or even quarterly. Also, the word “disposable” doesn’t always mean single-use in the world of contact lenses. Daily wear lenses that are thrown out every week or so are referred to as “disposable.” Daily disposable lenses, on the other hand, is a specific term for lenses that are removed and discarded daily.
In addition to being more comfortable and convenience, the newer daily disposable lenses also help to promote good eye health. “Every tissue in the body needs oxygen and the eyes are definitely no exception,” says Dr. Ritenour. “Daily disposable lenses allow more oxygen to get through the lens to the cornea, making it healthier.”
Convenience is also a major factor in daily disposable lenses because wearers throw each pair away at the end of each day. Patients don’t have to worry about bacteria building up on them or worry about cleaning their lenses and then putting them back in the next morning. Protein, calcium, lipids and other substances that are found naturally in tears can build up on lenses, that would need to be cleaned on daily wear lenses, but not daily disposable ones. These deposits can make the lenses less comfortable to wear and could make eyes more prone to infection.
Daily disposable lenses remove questions patients might have about cleaning, such as: Am I buying the right solution? Do I need a disinfectant or just a rewetting agent? Taking cleaning and wetting solutions out of the equation also saves a lot of money, as most daily disposable lenses have continued to stay affordable in comparison.
According to Atlantic Eye Consultants in Virginia Beach, the first step for people who are interested in getting contact lenses is to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a regular eye exam to make sure they qualify for contacts. It’s a good idea to have a corneal evaluation, then you can go over details about types of contact lenses that would be best for your personal needs.