Q. Can you explain what the difference is between contact lenses that can be worn for a month vs. those that can are meant to be worn for a day, are they made of different materials?
A. Contact lenses that are to be worn for a month have different dimension characteristics than daily disposable contact lenses. The thickness, shape and edge profile of a monthly contact lens must be able to maintain its integrity for 30 days, whereas a daily contact only has to maintain its integrity for a single use. In most cases, the lenses are made from different materials depending on whether they are expected to support the vision and comfort for only one day or for 30 days. It is interesting and potentially important to note that the materials unique to daily wear contact lenses are helpful for patients suffering from dry eyes. If the contact lens is made from the same material, the dimensions will be different in thickness, shape and edge profile.
Q. Please clarify the difference between what we are speaking about, replacement frequency, vs. daily wear or extended wear contacts, which is an issue of wearing schedule.
A. When we talk about a wearing schedule, we choose a contact that fits the patient’s schedule. There are differences between contacts that are to be worn only for only a day and contacts that can be worn for two or four weeks before they are disposed of. There are also differences between contacts that are worn daily and those that are approved for extended wear. The FDA requires contacts to be approved for certain wearing schedules. The FDA laboratory test contacts to be approved for single daily use, two week or four-week use, and for daily or extended use. If a patient misuses their contacts in the wearing schedule they can get an eye infection and go blind if they are not treated.
Q. Are there advantages to single-use contact lenses? What are they?
A. Single-use daily wear contacts are convenient to the patient and a healthy recommendation from their eye doctor. At the end of the day, the patient only has to dispose of the contacts. There is no need to take the contacts out to clean and disinfect them. The patients time and money spent on solutions and caring for them are eliminated. Not to mention that the next time they wear a contact, they will be wearing a brand new contact! The single best recommendation your eye doctor can make is to recommend single-use daily wear contacts. They are the healthiest contact that can be worn. The contact lens pathology issues of wearing the same contact for two or four weeks such as neovascularization, microcystic edema, and bacterial infections are greatly reduced.
Q. What do you find in particular, most exciting about single-use contact lenses, that brings you to recommend them to the patients in your care?
A. I prefer to recommend single-use daily wear contact to my patients because today there is a contact for everyone to wear. We not only have single vision contacts, but we also have torics for astigmatmats, and multifocal lenses for presbyopes. The contact lens industry now makes single-use contacts for every vision problem whether it be nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia. They are convenient to wear and care and very healthy as well. I am excited to offer these contact lenses as an alternative to the two or four-week contacts that my patients have worn in the past. My patients are always concerned about the cost. The cost difference is pennies per day.
Q. Do you find that your patients express positive feedback about daily disposables, and what is it that they are most happy with?
It’s always good to hear feedback from our contact lens patients. Comfort, clearness of vision, the convenience of care and handling, the fact that they travel easily, and healthy choice are some of the comments that we hear from our daily single-use contact lens patients. A daily contact is comfortable because it’s never been worn before. There isn’t any build up of protein and lipid on the contact from being worn before. As well, a new contact lens that has never been worn will give clearer vision. The chore of cleaning and disinfecting a contact is replaced by simply disposing the contact at the end of the day and wearing a new contact lens the next day. The daily contacts travel well. You only take the contacts that you plan to wear while you are away. The packages are less than 2 ounces each. They go through airport security with no problem. Daily single-use contacts are a healthy choice for patients that experience allergic reactions to wearing contacts that last 2 or 4 weeks.
Q. Will it be more expensive for me if I need to use a new pair of contacts every day?
The cost of daily single-use contacts compared to contacts that last two or 4 weeks is actually pennies per day. When you factor the cost of contacts that last 2 or 4 weeks you have to also add in the cost of the multipurpose solution and even the hydrogen peroxide solution if they need to be clean them better. The cost of the solutions is approximately $95 per year plus the cost of the annual supply of contacts divided by 365 will give you the daily cost of 2 or 4-week contacts. Not to mention the cost of the patients time to clean and disinfect the 2 or 4-week contacts. I find that most of the patients who think that they are saving money by wearing 2 or 4-week contacts are over wearing their contacts. And what usually happens is that eventually, they get bacterial conjunctivitis that costs them by being treated by a Doctor and buying antibiotics from the pharmacy.
Q. Are there certain conditions of the eye, or any other reason why you would specifically recommend to a patient the use of single use contact lenses?
Daily single-use contacts are approved by the FDA for seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. There is no need to put allergy drops in your eyes when you wear daily contacts. The pollen that sticks to the surface of the contact is only one day’s worth and not 2 or 4 weeks worth. For patients who suffer from eye allergies and want to wear contacts comfortably, daily single-use contacts are the best choice. Using allergy eye drops and contacts develop a medicamentosa which causes contact lens discomfort and lens awareness. Dry eye patients have found that they can wear daily single-use contacts much more comfortably than contacts that last 2 or 4 weeks. There are daily contacts that have added moisture that compensates for patients dry eyes. Certain occupations make it difficult to wear contacts because contacts absorb what in the air. For example; food service, beauticians, and auto mechanics have different air quality. Their 2 or 4-week contacts get filmy and are difficult to keep clean. Daily contacts are the answer.