Daily Disposable Contacts
In the spirit of our last blog on ocular allergies, it is also fitting that we discuss daily disposable contact lenses for wearers suffering from red, itchy eyes. Just within the last two years, there have been several new contact lens brands that have expanded parameters for those with uncommon prescriptions. Here are some of the factors that your eye doctor considers when determining which daily contact lens is for you.
1. Fit of the contact lenses
Contact lenses are not one size fits all. The diameter and curvature of the lenses are just two of the many measurements that affect the overall fit. The base curve is a measurement that determines the steepness (or flatness) of the contact lens bowl shape. Some people have steep corneas, which can sometimes be associated with keratoconus, while others have flat corneas. If a contact lens fits too tightly, it will be difficult for tears to spread behind the contact lens, which can cause dryness and trouble removing the lenses. If the contact doesn’t fit tight enough, it can move excessively on the cornea, which causes discomfort and blurry vision.
Some people need a “toric” lens, or one that includes astigmatism correction. These contact lenses have a tiny weight in them to stabilize the lens in the proper position. If the lens is rotated or moving too much, it will be frustrating to see clearly. A good fitting toric lens should have minimal rotation and a small amount of movement to help with tear distribution.
Poorly fitting lenses can cause irritation and fluctuating vision. Some symptoms do not develop until months after wearing the contacts, which is why it is so important to have an eye doctor assess the fit of your contacts on an annual basis.
It is common for some people to see better with glasses versus contacts because the prescription is much more precise, and there are less factors in play. However, most people are satisfied with the vision out of the contact lenses and enjoy the freedom of no glasses during the day. (Note: All contact lens wearers still need a backup pair of glasses!) Some people do not want to compromise a hint of clarity, which makes the point that contact lenses are not for everyone.
Some people get their best vision through toric lenses that have astigmatism correction, while other people wear multifocal contacts. Multifocals provide an additional reading power in the lenses for those with presbyopia. This helps minimize the need for wearing reading glasses over the contacts.
Most contact lens companies have expanded prescription parameters to include the large majority of people. Dailies are the most limited in terms of prescription options, but this has greatly improved over the last few years. Of course, there are still some individuals who fall outside the standard range of daily disposable contacts. In these situations, there is usually a monthly disposable option that can be utilized.
One of the most subjective aspects of a contact lens fit is the comfortability of the lenses. Some people have very sensitive eyes, while others seldomly experience discomfort. The type of lens material and surface treatments on the lenses play a role in how the contact lenses feel, especially after several hours. Silicone hydrogel material is the basis of newer lens designs. It allows more oxygen to permeate through the lens, which is also healthier for the eyes overall.
Ocular allergies and dry eyes can lead to contact lens discomfort. Fortunately, daily disposable contacts are the best for both these conditions. Long days in contact lenses can exacerbate dryness and might require a more premium daily lens. On the other hand, if the lenses are only worn a few hours once or twice a week, the newer lens treatments for dryness might not be necessary.
Now this all sounds good, but you might be worried about the additional packaging waste and contacts that are involved with wearing dailies. To solve the environmental concern of disposing extra waste, Bausch + Lomb has partnered with TerraCycle to create a recycling program called ONE by ONE. As a participating office, we collect empty blister packs, top foil, and contacts (of all brands) to send for recycling.
Wondering if dailies are for you? Schedule a contact lens evaluation or ask us at your next appointment. We are more than happy to get you started with the benefits of daily disposable contacts!