alarm-ringing ambulance angle2 archive arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up at-sign baby baby2 bag binoculars book-open book2 bookmark2 bubble calendar-check calendar-empty camera2 cart chart-growth check chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up circle-minus circle city clapboard-play clipboard-empty clipboard-text clock clock2 cloud-download cloud-windy cloud clubs cog cross crown cube youtube diamond4 diamonds drop-crossed drop2 earth ellipsis envelope-open envelope exclamation eye-dropper eye facebook file-empty fire flag2 flare foursquare gift glasses google graph hammer-wrench heart-pulse heart home instagram joystick lamp layers lifebuoy link linkedin list lock magic-wand map-marker map medal-empty menu microscope minus moon mustache-glasses paper-plane paperclip papers pen pencil pie-chart pinterest plus-circle plus power printer pushpin question rain reading receipt recycle reminder sad shield-check smartphone smile soccer spades speed-medium spotlights star-empty star-half star store sun-glasses sun tag telephone thumbs-down thumbs-up tree tumblr twitter tiktok wechat user users wheelchair write yelp youtube

How long are you wearing contacts lenses for each day?

A good contact lens wearer knows to always wash your hands before handling contact lenses, to always use fresh disinfecting solution and to replace the lenses as directed by your eye doctor. But how long are we wearing our contacts each day?

A healthy eye depends on a steady flow of oxygen to your cornea and when we wear a contact lens we reduce the amount of oxygen which flows through. Hypoxia is a condition which occurs when the cornea does not get enough oxygen and is one of the most common complications of contacts- especially for those who wear them for extended periods of time or forget to remove them when they sleep.

Hypoxia can make the cornea swell which can cause temporary hazy vision. It can also cause neovascularization of the cornea, a condition where abnormal blood vessels grow in the normally clear, translucent cornea. You can reduce the risks of hypoxia reducing how long you’re wearing your contacts, which typically should be no more than 10-12 hours/day, and never be falling asleep in your contacts.

Wearing the wrong type of contact lenses can also cause hypoxia even if you are not wearing them for very long. Standard hydrogel lenses allow significantly less oxygen transmission to your eyes than lenses made from silicone hydrogel. Patients should have a contact lens evaluation at least every year to assess for corneal hypoxia and other problems. If needed your doctor will be able to refit you into lenses that are safer and healthier for your eyes.