by DANIEL SMITH, O.D.
Contact lenses offer a wonderful alternative to traditional eyeglasses, providing wearers with a range of unique benefits that suit various lifestyles. They offer a natural, unobstructed field of vision, and the absence of frames on the face may be highly beneficial, especially during physical activities where glasses may pose a risk of falling off, fogging up, or becoming damaged. Others appreciate the cosmetic aspect of lenses and the sense of freedom they provide. Contact lens wear has become increasingly more popular over the past few decades, and there are more lens choices than ever to meet wearers’ varying needs. When choosing the right lens for you, one of the most important considerations is deciding on a daily disposable lens versus a traditional monthly replacement lens.
Daily disposable contact lenses are the evolution and clear future of soft contact lens wear. As the name suggests, these lenses are worn once and then discarded at the end of the day. This eliminates the need for cleaning solutions, cases, and daily maintenance, making them a simpler option. Their primary advantage, however, is the hygiene factor. Because they are only used once, there is no chance for protein deposits or microbial growth to develop over time, increasing their comfort and dramatically reducing the risk of infections. Those with allergies also benefit from the minimized exposure to allergens that may accumulate on traditional lenses. This reduced maintenance and better safety profile make daily lenses an obvious or non-negotiable choice for younger wearers.
Even happy wearers of monthly lenses generally notice improved comfort when switching to dailies. Because lens longevity is no longer a concern, different materials can be used in lens construction, emphasizing breathability and moisture retention rather than durability. Some monthly lens wearers report a gradual decline in vision and comfort over the lifespan of their lens, a byproduct of natural degradation from lens use. With a daily lens, it is a “day one” experience every time.
While daily disposables are an excellent development in the contact lens world, monthly lenses still have their place. The two primary advantages to monthly lenses today are cost and range of options. As with all newer technologies, daily disposables generally command a higher price tag than their monthly counterparts. While there are some daily lenses for the budget-conscious, monthly lenses offer significantly more options. Monthly lenses also come in a broader range of powers and may cater to patients with very high or irregular prescriptions, where there may be no daily options. However, contact lens manufacturers are continuously expanding their daily disposable offerings to cater to more prescription types and budgets, and the benefits of monthly lenses are rapidly diminishing.
Of course, every patient’s eyes and needs are unique, and no single option is suitable for everyone. Discussing your needs with your eye doctor to find a solution that best suits your lifestyle is important. For most of us, however, the future of contacts is clear: Daily lenses are the superior choice. Call us to schedule a contact lens exam at 800-282-3937 or visit us online at EYESFL.COM.
Dr. Daniel Smith is a board-certified optometrist who sees patients at the Clermont location for Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida. He specializes in primary care optometry and contact lenses and is accepting new patients.
This column is sponsored by Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFHN or of its advertisers.