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What Happens if I Wear My Contact Lenses for Too Long?

What Happens if I Wear My Contact Lenses for Too Long?

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine (NLM), up to 90% of contact lens users fail to follow the care instructions for their contact lenses. One of the common areas where users struggle is when it comes to following the correct duration of contact lens wear. 

Wearing your contact lenses longer than recommended can lead to so many avoidable complications and sometimes, loss of vision. Find out the risks of prolonged contact lens wear and how you can treat and prevent them. 

How Long Should You Wear Your Contact Lenses? 

This is the first question you need to ask when you get a new pair of contact lenses. The answer can be found online or on the packaging of your lenses. Your eye doctor will also be able to tell you about the replacement schedule and the maximum duration that you can safely wear the lenses at a single time. 

Almost all lenses, whether they are daily disposable lenses or monthly lenses can be worn for 12 to 16 hours at a time, after which you will need to remove the lenses for disposal or for cleaning and further use. Wearing contact lenses longer than this duration is what causes many of the complications we will discuss in the next section. 

What are the Risks of Wearing Contacts for a Long Time?

Corneal Damage

Wearing your contact lenses longer than recommended can lead to various conditions like corneal abrasions, corneal ulcers or corneal hypoxia. Corneal abrasions can occur when the contacts dry out and begin to scratch the surface of your eye whereas corneal ulcers result from bacterial infections due to improper lens care. Corneal hypoxia is another complication that arises due to lack of oxygen availability to the cornea. 

Eye Infections 

Failure to clean and disinfect your lenses regularly and the prolonged use of dirty lenses can contribute to the buildup of germs on the lens surface which can lead to eye infections. Wearing contact lenses for longer than the recommended hours increases your chances of developing infections. 

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)

This condition occurs when the inner surface of your eyelids or the conjunctiva becomes inflamed and swollen. Extended contact lens wear can contribute to the exacerbation of this condition. 

Damage to Vision  

Long term improper usage of contact lenses can also result in partial or total loss of vision arising from damage to the cornea or infections. 

How to Treat Irritation from Wearing Contacts for a Long Time

The first course of action you must take if you experience discomfort or any symptoms from overwearing your contact lenses is to remove them from your eyes. Use eye drops to lubricate your eyes in order to make removal easier. 

If irritation persists, we recommend visiting your eye doctor for an examination. Your doctor will recommend what needs to be done in order to reduce symptoms and heal any damage. Your doctor might also recommend eye drops, ointments or antibiotics, depending on the severity of your condition. During the recovery process, we recommend that you use eyeglasses and refrain from wearing contact lenses in order to allow your eyes to heal properly. 

What Can You Do to Prevent Contact Lens Overwear?

Replace Your Lenses on Time

All modern contact lenses come with a specific replacement schedule. We advise you to strictly follow the recommended schedule to avoid increasing your risk of eye infections and other complications. 

Always Remove Contacts Before You Sleep  

It can be tempting to skip the contact lens cleaning routine and keep your lenses in your eyes while going to bed but doing so can result in discomfort, dry eyes and infections, especially if you make it a habit. 

Use Extended Wear Contact Lenses 

By using contact lenses that are meant to be worn for long periods of time, you avoid some of the common symptoms and complications associated with wearing contact lenses longer than you should. While regular lenses are meant to be worn for up to 12 hours, extended wear lenses allow for up to seven days and six nights of continuous wear. 

If you’d like to know more tips on proper contact lens usage, check out our blog post on The Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing Contact Lenses

Our Recommendations for Extended Wear Contact Lenses 

Although it is widely not recommended to wear contact lenses for an extended duration of time, there are some exceptions to this rule. “Extended wear” contact lenses are made specifically to be worn for longer periods of time. They are usually more durable, offer greater protection against harmful deposits and provide long-lasting comfort, allowing you to safely wear your contacts for over 24 hours, day and night. 

We recommend talking to your eye care provider to determine whether you are a good candidate for extended wear contact lenses before purchasing a pair. Below, you will find our top recommendations for extended wear lenses.  

Air Optix Night and Day Aqua Contact Lenses 

Air Optix Night and Day Lens 3pk

The Air Optix Night and Day Aqua Contact Lenses are ideal for continuous wear, from day to night. These contacts can be worn continuously for up to 30 nights and feature high oxygen permeability and protection against deposits that may harm your eyesight. We recommend this product for those who are looking for contacts that can offer consistent performance over a long period of time. 

Biofinity Contact Lenses 

Biofinity Contact Lenses

Biofinity contact lenses are an excellent choice for long-term wear and comfort. These lenses are known for offering high breathability and sharp vision. Biofinity contact lenses also feature CooperVision’s Aquaform Technology, providing both oxygen and moisture to keep your eyes healthy. We recommend this brand if you are looking for weekly lenses that can be worn for up to six nights/seven days. 


Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus

Acuvue Oasys Hydraclear Plus 6pk

Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus are highly versatile contact lenses that can be worn either daily for up to two weeks or continuously for six nights/seven days, in which case you will have to replace them weekly. These contacts keep the eyes feeling moist all day and all night thanks to the Hydraclear Plus technology that stabilizes the tear film. We recommend this product for those who are looking for contacts that offer maximum comfort and moisture. 

Where to Purchase Extended Wear Contact Lenses in Dubai

 When shopping for extended wear contact lenses, keep your eyes out for products from reputable brands. The last thing you want to do is purchase generic products that haven’t been proven to be safe or reliable for long-term wear. 

On adasat.com, you will find a wide range of contact lenses for continuous wear from some of the most reputable brands in the world. Our online eyewear store is the ultimate one-stop-shop in the region for a wide range of medical contact lenses, colored contact lenses and branded eyewear.