Monthly or Daily Contact Lenses?

 

6 min         Oct. 22, 2021

 

We’d love to give you the answer. However... there isn’t one.

Or rather, the answer depends on you. Each type of contact lens has its advantages, so read this quick introduction. Then you and your optometrist can make the decision, having considered all the pros and cons of daily disposables vs monthly disposable contact lenses.

 

It all starts with a chat about your expectations and needs. Your optometrist will take a look at your eyes, make a few measurements and test your vision. Then comes the big moment: a recommendation. Once you’ve made your choice, it’s time to open wide and glimpse a crisp, clear future. You’ll be fitted with your selected lenses - but only to give them a dry run. You can always change your mind later, swapping between daily and monthly lenses at any time, or even trying coloured options.

DAILY CONTACT LENSES

Let’s say, for the sake of simplicity, that you decide to try daily disposable contact lenses. After all, they’re a very popular and attractive option.

 

Daily disposables are a revolutionary development. When contact lenses were first invented, they cost a small fortune per lens, so the idea of throwing them away after 12-16 hours might have been acceptable to millionaires, but not to anyone else.

 

Today however, the cost per lens has shot down, whilst quality and performance have raced up! In fact technological advances have come so far that you can put in a fresh pair of contact lenses every day of the month (or whenever you want a break from glasses) at a cost that’s only slightly higher than wearing a single pair of monthly lenses.

 

These single-use contact lenses have the great advantage of convenience. You just apply a fresh clean pair in the morning (or whenever you choose during the day), then take them out at night, disposing of them before you go to bed.

 

After that, you start with a fresh pair each morning. No solutions, no cleaning, no maintenance and no fuss.

 

Because they’re taken fresh from their sterile blister pack solution, daily contact lenses are guaranteed to start every day clean and fresh, helping to ensure your eyes stay healthy. Since the approach involves no solutions, case or storage, you eliminate hassle, fiddliness, time, debris from dirty lenses - and potential complications. And for additional convenience, you can keep a spare pair or two in a handbag, sports-bag or office drawer - for spontaneous use, or to replace a damaged or dirty pair.

By the way, the word ‘disposable’ means you throw the lens away after each use: hence daily disposables are dispensed with after being worn within a 24-hour period. Be careful though. You can also get weekly and monthly disposables - designed to be worn continuously for a week or month, then never again, never having been removed during the days and nights spent under your eyelids. Always check the packet and follow its guidance.

 

Sounds interesting? Daily disposable contact lenses are perfect for occasional use. If you only want to wear lenses on certain days, or for special occasions, they're a great option! Have a word with your optometrist and see if this could work for you and your eyes. 

 

DAILY DISPOSABLES: WHY NOT?

What’s the downside then?

Used every day, they may cost more than monthly lenses. You’ll only get the full benefit of these lenses and enjoy extra eye health if you stick to the rules, never over-wear the lenses or reuse them. Doing so is a recipe for an undesirable eye infection, discomfort or a nasty complication - and that’s certainly not convenient!

HOW ABOUT MONTHLY CONTACTS?

The other really popular option is monthly replacement. These contact lenses are taken out each evening (or during the day when changing to glasses). They are then cleaned, rinsed and disinfected before being stored overnight in contact lens solution. The lenses can then be reused the next day, for up to a month from the first day of use - but no longer!

 

One advantage of monthly contact lenses is that they are more durable and less likely to tear. This is hardly surprising, since they’re designed to remain robust during a cycle of up to 30 applications, removals and cleaning sessions.

 

A main selling point for monthly contact lenses is that they tend to be more economical than daily disposables (even when you consider the extra cost of the cleaning solution).

 

Monthlies include special agents within their structure, to improve moisture retention and remain highly resistant to deposits like proteins and lipids. This is particularly true of monthlies made from silicone hydrogel. They allow for more oxygen to pass through than pure hydrogel lens, making them extremely comfortable to wear and good for your eye’s health. 

 

However, with a monthly contact lens you do have to keep it clean. Each lens has to be cleaned, disinfected and stored after every use, every time, to keep them fit to wear. This means you need a supply of contact lens solution to clean and store your lenses, a good memory or system to remind you when to buy and use new contact lenses (it’s a good idea to make this a set day in every month), and a more disciplined approach to your bedtime routine.

 

CLEANING MONTHLY CONTACT LENSES

Cleaning your monthly contact lenses gets rid of visible debris, but your tears contain fats (lipids) and proteins that can build up on contact lenses, making them uncomfortable and prone to infections.

See those passing bacteria, viruses and fungi? Of course not! They’re invisible to the eye, but love hitching a ride on a contact lens. After a month, a build-up of these molecules and deposits can bond to a contact lens, making the unwelcome guests almost impossible to remove. That’s why it’s so important not to over-wear your contact lenses, beyond their monthly term.

 

EXTENDED WEAR AND CONTINUOUS WEAR

Your monthly contact lenses may not be suitable for overnight wear. If you want to keep in your lenses full time, ‘extended wear’ (six nights, seven days) or ‘continuous wear’ (up to 30 nights, 31 days) Silicone-Hydrogel lenses could be what you’re looking for. Confusingly, the latter are sometimes referred to as weekly or monthly disposables. Thanks to superb oxygen permeability, these extended and continuous wear contact lenses can be worn day and night for their specified term, before being replaced. Talk to an eye care professional to find out if this is right for you.

 

WHICH IS BEST FOR MY EYE CONDITION OR PRESCRIPTION?

If you’re still wondering which lens is best for your eyes, but also aware that you’re likely to need multifocals or to correct astigmatism, don’t let this worry you. These days there are daily disposables and monthly contact lenses for almost all lens wearers, whatever their eye conditions and prescriptions are.

 

Speak to your optometrist, listen to their recommendation, but remember: neither daily disposables nor monthly contact lenses are intrinsically better or worse than the other at correcting your vision.

Yet either or both can change your life, for the better!