Advantages of Daily Contact Lenses

1:34 PM

Did you know that since 2007, 40% of contact lens wearers in England and Japan wear daily disposable contact lenses, but in the United States dailies only comprise 14% of the market?  See Contact Lens Spectrum for more information.  We haven't embraced daily disposable contact lenses in the US to their full potential, but here's why I think these other countries are getting it right.

1) Daily Lenses offer maximum comfort
Contact lenses get dry; it is just a fact of life.  Try putting a piece of plastic over your eye all day and why would we think they should be comfortable?  But daily lenses are the thinnest options on the market, and since you are opening a fresh pair every day, they will have no build up or deposits that plague extended wear lenses even with the best cleaning solutions.  Do you suffer from allergies?  The last thing you need to put on your eye is a lens that has been exposed to your allergens for the past 2 weeks.  A fresh lens will have collected no dust, pollen, or other allergen, so you will be getting maximum allergy relief.
I also love daily lenses for dry eye sufferers and 8+hour a day computer users.  Sometimes getting just 8-12 hours a day of comfortable wearing time is a success, and with dailies my average patient is getting 12-14 hours routinely.  With new materials like Acuvue's Trueye and Bausch and Lomb's new Biotrue 1-Day lenses, the amount of hydration and comfort with dailies continues to improve!

Daily lenses are individually packaged, so you always have a fresh lens and never need cleaning solution

2) Daily Lenses have less complications
If you have ever had an eye infection, you know the pain, discomfort, and blurry vision that comes along with it.  On top of all that, you are out of contact lenses and stuck in glasses for days to weeks.  The best way to prevent your risk of infection is to limit the amount of bacteria exposed to your eye, which is why a daily lens is such a great option.  With dailies, you have no cleaning to perform because you throw the lens away every night.  You only touch the lens one time, when you are putting it in that morning, so the risk of dirty hands contaminating the lens is much lower than a lens you wear for 2 weeks or a month. Studies report that daily disposable wearers are about half as likely to have moderate to severe bacterial infections than other soft lens wearers (link).

3) Daily Lenses offer better oxygen to the eye
The amount of oxygen transmissibilty in a daily contact lens (DO/T) is typically lower than some monthly silicone hydrogel lenses when you look at the numbers, but don't be fooled.  A monthly lens has to provide oxygen to your eyes for 30 days.  A daily lens only has to allow oxygen for one day, and  for 12-18 hours, your eye is going to be getting a lot more oxygen than it does through a conact lens that is a few wears old.  I hardly ever see signs of oxygen deprivation like corneal neovascularization, infiltrative keratitis, and corneal scarring with daily lens wearers.  What does that mean to you besides a happy optometrist?  You will be seeing better, with less redness and irritation than with other lens modalities.
A lot of patients ask me about Acuvue's Trueye marketing campaign declaring you will have whiter eyes. There is no bleaching here -- daily lenses just offer maximum oxygen and moisturization, preventing blood vessel growth (neovascularization) and a chronic "red eye" appearance that plagues dry eye sufferers and patients who are overwearing their lenses.

I know that daily disposable lenses can be a lot more expensive than older hydrogel lens options, but besides price tag, there are really no reasons to not be fitting dailies.  And for patients who want comfort, safety, and convenience, dailies can be more than worth a price difference.  Acuvue 1-Day Moist for Astigmatism has really increased the options for daily lenses in astigmatism patients, and for presbyopes I have had success with Cooper's Proclear 1-Day Multifocal lens.  There is a reason that daily wear is gaining ground (finally) in America-- up to 17% of contact lens fits in 2012 versus only 11% in 2009 (Contact Lens Spectrum).  Hopefully we can catch up with the rest of the world and embrace the best available contact lens technology at an even more increasing rate!

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  1. Great post, thanks. Are there any publications comparing corneal neovascularization in daily disposable vs daily wear monthly disposable lenses? Would you say that patients wearing lenses 14-16 hours a day with mild peripheral corneal neovascularization would benefit from switching to daily disposables? How important are Dk/t values of daily disposables?


    1. Hi John! Thank you so much for your great questions and I love that you are thinking about these things (you must have a great doctor!). As far as I know, there is no study that has been performed to compare neovascularization specifically in dailies versus monthlies. I will investigate further for you of course. This study comes to mind that shows a reduced risk of microbial corneal infection with daily disposable lens wear versus monthlies.

      As far as Dk/t the necessary value for daily lens wear is really debatable. The reason Dk/t is so important for monthly lenses is because these lenses will have a reduction in that value as time goes on -- the lens ages, the material changes, etc. You may wear a great high Dk/t lens, but suffer oxygen loss if you wear it for 2 months instead of 1 month because that level of oxygen transmission can't be maintained in an aging lens. By comparison, daily lenses are meant for 1 day of wear and no overnight wear, so you don't have to worry about a loss of transmissibility with age. That's why it's so common to see lower Dk/t lenses in dailies options. If you have a highly compromised cornea with lots of damage from neovascularization, I would recommend a higher Dk/t daily lens like Clariti 1-Day or Dailies Total 1 or Acuvue TruEye. That is a judgement call by your doctor as to whether your cornea needs a higher oxygen transmission rate daily lens like the ones listed above, or a hydrogel daily lens that may still improve your corneal health simply by having a new lens everyday that won't lose oxygen transmissibility with time, even though it has a lower Dk/t number.
      Hope this helps! Please post more questions any time!

    2. Hi Dr.L! Thanks for your answer, it was very helpful. My doctor suggested I reduce lens wearing time due to slight early neovascularisation (nothing serious) and I wanted to read up on this and that is how I found your blog. I must say that your posts on the blog are very helpful and well written. I guess I will keep using my current lens for now but keep the option of dailies in mind. Thank you very much!

  2. Thank you; I am so happy that you are finding this information useful! It sounds like you are on the right track with your doctor. Usually with mild cases of neovascularization just reducing wearing time is all it takes because today's monthly contact lens products do have very good oxygen transmission. I forgot to link the study I referrenced concerning the reduced risk of infection with daily contact lens wear so here is the link if you want to read more:

  3. Thanks for such an amazing article over daily contact lenses its has motivated me a lot to buy a daily wear contact lenses from .I have been using daily contact lenses from past 6 months and its easy to use and giving a immense comfort without any complications.