Contact lenses serve as a practical alternative to eyeglasses, especially for people who lead active lives. Contact lenses come in various types, each supporting different lifestyles and eye conditions.
Contact lenses aren’t intended for permanent use. They should be replaced when they’ve passed their recommended period of use. However, some lenses may need to be replaced earlier than scheduled.
To be sure, keep the following six signs in mind to determine when it’s time to swap your current lenses with new ones.
- Sign #1: Your vision is cloudy when you’re wearing lenses
- Sign #2: You feel uncomfortable wearing them.
- Sign #3: The lenses are disfigured and out of shape.
- Sign #4: Your lenses aren’t UV-proofed and breathable.
- Sign #5: Your prescription grade has changed.
- Sign #6: You’ve used them beyond the recommended period.
- Why Replace Your Contact Lenses?
- Practice Eye Health and Hygiene
Sign #1: Your vision is cloudy when you’re wearing lenses
Ever tried putting on your contact lenses only to experience cloudy vision? That may be a sign that it’s time to replace them.
To check if this is the case, take the contacts out and give them a good rinse using lens solution. After that, put them back in and see whether your vision becomes clearer.
If they’re still cloudy, it’s time to head to your optician for a replacement.
If you don’t see through the contacts as clearly as you did when they were brand new, it’s a sign that bacteria have already built up.
Using them despite this only puts you at risk of getting dry eyes, infections, and corneal ulcers.
Sign #2: You feel uncomfortable wearing them.
Whether you’re new to it or not, wearing contact lenses should never feel uncomfortable. If you feel like your eyes are becoming irritated while wearing them, it may be time to switch lenses.
Never disregard any unusual experiences while using this eyewear. Whether it’s pain, irritation, itchiness, or even simple discomfort that you’re experiencing, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
In some cases, dirt or dust comes in contact with the lenses, which will leave your eyes feeling irritated. This should improve as soon as you clean it with the prescribed lens solution.
During cleaning, make sure you inspect your contacts. Watch out for any sign of damage, particularly scratches, that could cause discomfort when you’re wearing them.
In the absence of any apparent damage or dirt, there might be some issues invisible to the naked eye should you still find wearing the lenses uncomfortable.
In this case, it would be best to buy a new pair and trash the old one.
Sign #3: The lenses are disfigured and out of shape.
Sometimes, contact lenses can get disfigured during storage or while being taken out. If this happens, don’t attempt to wear that pair again.
Irregularities in the shape, dents, folds and anything that leaves the lens misshapen will only harm your eyes by allowing bacteria or debris to pass through.
Sign #4: Your lenses aren’t UV-proofed and breathable.
Like most things today, contact lenses have also evolved through the years. This means that newer contact lens products today are much better than the ones used in the past.
For one, new lenses now provide ultraviolet protection to keep your eyes safe from harsh sunlight. Some are even made with new materials that support breathability.
Sign #5: Your prescription grade has changed.
While it’s not always the case for everyone, one more potential reason it’s time for your current lenses to retire is a change in your prescription.
If you experience eyesight trouble even if you have brand-new contact lenses, check if you have any of the following symptoms that occur when you wear the wrong prescription contacts:
- Eye fatigue
- Frequent squinting
- Blurred vision
If you continue wearing the wrong lenses, your vision will eventually get worse–albeit gradually.
It would be best to change your lenses immediately, but make sure you consult your eye doctor first.
The change in your eyesight may be too subtle to notice without the help of a trained and experienced professional.
Sign #6: You’ve used them beyond the recommended period.
As mentioned earlier, contact lenses come with an expiration date. However, some contact lens users tend to use a pair beyond their recommended wear period. Avoid doing this.
Contact lenses come with expiration dates for a reason. Wearing them beyond the recommended duration could lead to discomfort and irritation.
There’s no point in sacrificing your comfort just to save cash on monthly colored contacts that are overdue for replacement.
To be sure you don’t make this mistake, familiarize yourself with the following types of contact lenses based on their recommended wear time:
As their name implies, dailies should only be worn for no more than one day. This means there’s no need to put them in contact lens cases or soak them in lens solution.
What you do need to remember is to toss them out before you go to bed and use a fresh pair the following day.
Daily disposable contact lenses are lighter and thinner than others, making them a healthier choice for the eyes. But this very same characteristic also makes them unsuitable for extended use.
Weekly or Bi-weekly Lenses
Some contacts, like bi-weekly toric lenses for astigmatism, can be used a bit longer than dailies. However, these lenses still need to be swapped out with new ones after one or two weeks.
Take note that weekly or bi-weekly lenses need to be stored in contact lens cases and soaked in solution at night.
Pro Tip: Set a recurring alarm for one or two weeks to make sure you replace these lenses when their time is up.
Some contacts are good for up to 30 days. To make it easier to remember when to replace them, schedule breaking out a new pair every first day of the month. Or you can also set a reminder for a specific day of each month.
Like weekly lenses, monthly contacts should be stored and soaked in a solution-filled case every night. Never sleep without removing them.
Overnight Contact Lenses
Some contact lenses can be worn overnight. These pairs can last anywhere between a week to 30 days.
However, the use of these contact lenses makes more sense if you work at night or are on call during the evenings, like police, firefighters, and security personnel.
Why Replace Your Contact Lenses?
Contact lens replacement is crucial to eye health and hygiene.
While it may seem like a rinse and soak of the prescribed lens solution is enough, your contact lenses are bound to accumulate hard-to-remove impurities in the long run.
Plus, many contact lenses are made to last for only a specified period. Whether you wear dailies or monthly lenses, replacing them at the set time would be the best decision for your eyes.
Remember: Contact lenses tend to degrade over time.
Contact lenses have holes in them that let your eyes “breathe.”
If you continue to wear them beyond the prescribed period, these holes become clogged with dirt and debris, not to mention accumulate bacteria that could ultimately harm your eyes.
Practice Eye Health and Hygiene
All removable contact lenses aren’t meant to be worn permanently. Know when it’s time to replace yours by looking out for the signs listed here. This will allow you to maintain your eye health and hygiene.
Sandra is a health blogger based in San Diego, California. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. She loves being outdoors and exploring new places with her husband. She is a mom of two awesome kids and a dog named Luna!