Contact lenses are the preferred option for millions of Americans with vision problems. They are essentially disposable or semi-disposable prescription lenses that fit directly over the surface of the eye. This is a sound alternative to the frames and sometimes physical discomfort of traditional eyeglasses.
Contact lenses are available in a few different varieties, though most are either monthly or daily replacement contacts. To find out which type of contact lens is right for you, it helps to take a closer look at the advantages and potential drawbacks of each.
Daily Contact Lenses
As the name implies, daily contact lenses are meant to be used for a single day at a time. They are then disposed of. These personal corrective lenses are meant for a single-use. They are not intended to be worn for more than one day. It’s also worth noting that there are some subtle differences between daily contact lenses and disposable contact lenses.
Your eye doctor may or may not recommend daily contact lenses for you based on the specific detail of your eyes, your vision problems, and the prescription you need to properly correct your visual acuity.
The out of pocket cost to you of daily contact lenses can vary depending on the prescription you need as well as your vision insurance coverage. Some major daily contact lens brands will also offer incentive deals and reward programs to help reduce your per-unit cost over the course of the year. On average, you can expect daily contact lenses to cost you between $300 to $1,200 per year.
What Are The Benefits Of Daily Contact Lenses?
Daily contact lenses are disposed of at the end of each day. They are not meant to be worn at night while sleeping.
The large benefit is that since you are using a fresh pair each day, you won’t have to worry about the eventual build-up of proteins, calcium, lipids, and other eye debris that can affect more long-term use contact lenses. This also makes them feel more comfortable each day.
You also don’t have to worry about cleaning them or taking care of them at night. Some people will use monthly or bi-weekly contact lenses when they are at home. Then if they need to travel for business, or go on vacation, they will turn to daily use contact lenses for convenience.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Daily Use Contact Lenses?
Right off the bat, the overall long-term cost of daily use contact lenses is seen by many as the largest drawback. You are always going to have to buy more and over the course of the year the costs all add up.
Some people complain about the fact that the blister packs daily use contact lenses come in are not easily recycled. As awareness of plastic pollution continues to grow, ecologically conscious people are starting to take an increasingly hard stance on daily use contact lenses. Though there are manufacturers who are working on addressing this problem.
What Are Monthly Use Contact Lenses?
As the name implies, monthly contact lenses or extended use contact lenses can be used for multiple weeks at a time. Whether they are right for you will depend on the prescription you need, your eye doctor’s recommendation and your vision insurance coverage. They are often made from a special type of silicone hydrogel material for superior comfort. It also tends to let in more oxygen to the surface of the eyes.
What Are The Benefits Of Monthly Contact Lenses?
Monthly contact lenses are far more durable than single-day use disposable contact lenses as well as bi-weekly contact lenses. They also tend to be comfortable enough that you can wear them while sleeping. Just bear in mind that this isn’t always the case with every type of monthly contact lens. Wearing a monthly contact lens that isn’t designed to be worn while sleeping can harm your eyes.
The ability to wear monthly or extended use contact lenses might be very convenient depending on your lifestyle, or profession. A lot of people who work swing shift jobs will choose monthly contact lenses for their ability to handle the extended use.
Monthly contact lenses also tend to dry out less. This can be a major factor if you’ve had problems with chronic dry eye in the past.
Monthly contact lenses also tend to have a lower total annual cost. So, you will ultimately spend less over the course of a single year.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Monthly Contact Lenses?
Depending on your vision coverage monthly contact lenses might require a little bit more of an upfront investment. A lot of people will try to save some money on per-unit costs by purchases a six to 12-month supply all at one time.
With most monthly contact lenses, you also need to clean them to remove proteins, lipids, calcium, and other buildups that naturally occurs when contact lenses are worn for an extended amount of time. If you frequently wear your monthly contact lenses for more than 12-hours at a time, this gradual buildup can even start to irritate the eyes. So, you will want to calculate in the cost of cleaning them into the overall cost of ownership.
You also have to bear in mind that if you happen to lose one, or one of the contacts is accidentally damaged while cleaning it, that you will have to move to the next month’s set. If a problem like this happens more than once or twice in a year, you might have to renew your prescription early. Depending on your vision insurance you might need a follow-up eye exam, which might not be covered by your current plan, leaving you with the out of pocket costs.
Also, keep in mind that not all monthly contact lenses are designed to be worn for more than 16 hours. So, be sure to check with your eye doctor before sleeping with monthly contact lenses on your eyes.
Which Should I Choose, Daily, Or Monthly Contact Lenses?
While there is a lot of personal preference involved, monthly contact lenses tend to be the preferred option for people with chronic dry eye. Though people with an on-the-go lifestyle certainly tend to prefer daily use contact lenses. There certainly are those who use both depending on the occasion.