Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why can't I wear my disposable contact lenses longer? "

ZocdocAnswersWhy can't I wear my disposable contact lenses longer?


My eye doctor has always told me not to wear my disposable contact lenses for longer than two weeks at a time. However, contact lenses are expensive, and I don't want to replace them before I really need to. In many cases, my lenses still seem to be in excellent condition at the end of the two-week period, and I feel bad throwing them out when they are still usable. It seems like it may be more cost-effective to wear them until they become uncomfortable to wear or become damaged in some way. Is there a legitimate reason why I should not wear my disposable contact lenses longer than the recommended period of time?


Your eye doctor is the best person to discuss this issue with you. There is a very legitimate reason for discarding the contact lenses at the end of the recommended two weeks. Briefly, when you wear your lenses, they are developing deposits of proteins and other substances on their surface. Over time, if these deposits are allowed to build up, they can lead to eye irritation or predispose to serious eye infections. The exact amount of time that is required for these deposits to build up to the point where the lenses need to be discarded depends a lot on the exact chemical composition of your brand of contacts and also on the type of disinfectant or cleaning solution that you are using for the lenses. In your case, this seems to be two weeks. I would recommend discussing the issue with your eye doctor the next time you see them. If you are interested in wearing the contacts for a longer period of time, then it may be possible to switch to a different brand or type that allows for longer wear. Longer wear contacts tend to be more expensive per lens, but overall the may be cheaper in the long run, and your doctor can help you decide which option is best for you.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.