Daily disposable contact lenses are especially popular now—so popular that my practice prescribes them to about 85% of our patients.
Most of our patients are children younger than 18 and adults with traumatic brain injuries. Pediatric patients often have poor hygiene habits. Adults with brain injuries often suffer from dry eye and low blink rate or are at increased risk for developing infection. These patients benefit from the use of daily disposable contact lenses to minimize the risk of complications such as corneal problems from over-wear, dryness, or discomfort.
Daily disposable contact lenses have many advantages. First, patients appreciate the convenience factor. They no longer have to worry about cleaning lenses each night or remembering to switch to a new pair. They simply just throw away each pair at night and open a new, fresh pair in the morning. Travel also becomes easier because they don’t have to worry about bringing contact lens solution or cases.
Second, daily disposable contact lenses are healthier for the cornea because patients are less likely to over-wear their lenses. Daily disposable contact lenses also have significantly less potential for protein build-up on the lens due to replacement schedule. The result: improved comfort for our patients.
Finally, daily disposable contact lenses are my preferred option for patients who wear contact lenses part time. I have several adult patients who prefer to wear contact lenses only in social settings, and daily disposable contact lenses are a great option for this type of wear.
I’ve had some patients who feel that throwing away lenses at the end of each day is wasteful; therefore, they choose to wear the lenses for a few days or more at a time. Patient education becomes especially important so they understand the risk of over-wearing contact lenses.
Daily disposable lenses also tend to be more expensive than bi-weekly or monthly lenses. However, the cost of daily disposable lenses has become more comparable to monthly lenses due to rebates and not having the costs of associated care products.
A thorough case history and lifestyle questionnaire can be helpful in determining the best contact lens replacement schedule for a patient. Patients who travel, are prone to dry eye or protein build-up on their lenses, are active or participate in sports, or have a history of poor compliance with contact lens care are ideal candidates for daily disposables.
Patients should visit your office annually for a comprehensive exam to keep you aware of their vision and lifestyle habits. I’m proud to be a supporter of Think About Your Eyes, which educates patients on the importance of an annual eye exam and encourages them to take action to maintain their vision health. This is especially important for daily disposable contact lens wearers.
Daily disposable contact lenses have proven to be easier to use and more healthy for patients, so they should always be considered when prescribing contact lenses. (For a listing of daily disposable contact lenses, see “At-A-Glance: Daily Disposable Contact Lenses,” page 14.)