I can see clearly now, the pain is gone...
May 21, 2012 12:31 PM   Subscribe

I am considering changing from contact lenses that last one month to daily disposable lenses. Is there anything that I should know? Looking for pros and cons, particularly from anyone who has made this switch.

I've been wearing contact lenses for about 30 years now. I have, in the past, gone from yearly wear lenses (both gas permeable and soft), to biweekly, to weekly, and now I am in monthly soft lenses. I like them fine, but by the third week my eyes are pretty scratchy and sensitive. This weekend my opthamologist suggested I try daily disposables. She gave me a couple of pair that I wore over the weekend, and I loved them. I'll be getting a couple of weeks worth as a "test run," but I'm wondering if anyone else has made this jump and has any words of wisdom from their experience. Thanks!
posted by blurker to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Worth it for comfort. I stretch mine to three days without issue.
posted by bastionofsanity at 12:35 PM on May 21, 2012

I wore monthly lenses for ten years, then switched to daily lenses last year because my eyes started getting heavily irritated. I also switched from wearing the lenses every day to a few days a week. I really liked not having to worry about cleaning and storing the lenses, and just keeping a few pairs at the office/in my bag that I could put on as necessary. I like the feeling of a 'fresh' lens every time I put them in. It is especially convenient for staying at my boyfriend's place randomly - no worries about packing cases and fluids.
posted by jacalata at 12:41 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I mostly wear glasses these days, but I wear daily disposable lenses about once a week (sometimes more if it's summer and I have some sweet sunglasses). I used to wear yearly-wear lenses and then tried monthlies, but they always got uncomfortable after a few months. Daily disposables have been a HUGE blessing for me. I love them. They're especially great since I am clumsy and tear lenses all the time.

The only downside for me is the cost. That's probably at least 50% of the reason I wear my glasses most of the time.
posted by joan_holloway at 12:49 PM on May 21, 2012

I think in the Pro column you have the decreased risk of infection. I switched to dailies about two years back after my weekly contacts resulted in an eye ulcer. Tossing them each and every day means never screwing around with contact lens solution that might be bad, or somehow contaminating the mix.
posted by instead of three wishes at 12:50 PM on May 21, 2012

Upside: you don't mind as much if you lose one or tear one. You can keep a spare pair in your briefcase or purse and have as a backup. You can take them out for long airplane flights (my eyes get *really* dry) and then put in new ones when you land.

Downside: mine are a LOT thinner than the 2-week ones I was using and you tend to tear a few here and there. Mine also don't have the visibility or orientation marks like the 2-weeks and unless you've been using them a long time and know what a flipper looks like, they can pop off your eyeball when put on backwards. Just my experiences, at least.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:56 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love my dailies. I used to wear monthlies, which worked great (I thought) but the optometrist was a bit freaked out when she realized that I had developed (permanent?)ridges on my corneas, even though there was no irritation. So she suggested that I switch to a daily that I wouldn't sleep in.

I find the cost comparable, considering there are days when I just don't bother to put them in. Also, if you get a defective contact, you've only lost 1 day in 1 eye's worth of contacts, as opposed to 1 month's worth. They are comfortable and, as noted, you can just keep a couple extra on hand. I have not regretted getting them in any way.
posted by acanthous at 12:56 PM on May 21, 2012

Another upside: no more nightly cleaner, disinfectant, or saline. I could only use AOSept (the peroxide stuff with the catalyst disc), which got expensive.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:57 PM on May 21, 2012

I just made this switch earlier in the year, haven't looked back. The daily lenses are floppier and a tiny bit harder to put in or tell when they're inside out, and also more expensive (I bought what my insurance would cover from my eye doctor, and am planning on buying the rest of my year's supply online when that stock runs out; the price differential is impressive). Maybe because they're thinner, it seems to me that they're also easier to rub someplace weird in your eye and then have an issue with them bunching up/falling out (I keep a spare pair at work and in my and my boyfriend's car for this reason, although I don't think I've deployed them yet). The feeling of a fresh lens every day is awesome, though, and I love just tossing them at night without hassling with cleaner etc.

I use Cibas and at the end of a very long (16+ hour) day I can tell that they are too dry and pretty much done; I would definitely not try stretching their use past a day (YMMV, but if you're going to try and stretch them and disinfect etc., I'm not really sure why you wouldn't just stick with the longer-use lenses).
posted by charmedimsure at 1:03 PM on May 21, 2012

I switched from monthlies to dailies last year. I have allergies, and had non-infrequent burning and itching eyes, which have almost completely disappeared since switching. I also enjoy the fact that if one is torn or lost, it's not a big deal. However, due to the significant cost increase, I might not have switched if I didn't have good insurance coverage. The only downside to me is that throwing away all the little plastic containers every day seems really wasteful.
posted by Safiya at 1:44 PM on May 21, 2012

I switched to dailies a few years ago and love them. I switched after getting an eye infection (b/c I was a lazy terrible person who slept in contacts for days). Pros: You never have to buy overpriced saline solution again. You never have to search for your contact case, which has fallen behind the toilet. You never have to clean your contacts and put them in a case. You can just take them out each night and throw them on the floor, if you so desire.

Cons: Your boyfriend will tell you it's really disgusting that you throw your daily disposable contacts on the floor.

Also, yeah--I wouldn't try stretching them past a day. Not worth it. They're too thin.
posted by namemeansgazelle at 1:44 PM on May 21, 2012

I agree with all the above posts, particularly to not stretch these past one day.

Also, you can find massive differences in price among internet providers. I buy two years' worth at a time, once I find a good price. I love, love, love them.

I did reduce the power of the Rx in one eye because that one tore a lot more often. Now that I've done that (both 4.0, instead of one 4.25) I get way fewer tears, and I can't tell the difference in eye sight. I did this in consultation with my eye doc.
posted by Capri at 2:03 PM on May 21, 2012

I wore yearlies and monthlies back in the day, then I just wore glasses for a period of several years. About a year ago I started wearing contacts part of the time, and I got dailies. I find them super-comfortable and basically worry-free. Part of the appeal for me is that I can still wear glasses some of the time without feeling like my contacts are "going to waste" if I don't wear them for a while. I still wear glasses probably 75% of the time but I always have the dailies available (for fancy events, anything athletic where glasses would be uncomfortable/difficult, times when I want to wear sunglasses, or just if I want to put on lots of eye makeup and not hide it behind glasses).

They're great for the way I use them; YMMV. And they do seem to end up *everywhere*, I don't understand why. I swear I throw them in the trash, very carefully, but every once in a while you notice an old crunchy one stuck to the side of the toilet or something.
posted by mskyle at 2:21 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the excellent comments, folks.

The one thing that I have found difficult is being able to tell whether I am trying to put them into my eye inside-out. Any tips on that account?
posted by blurker at 2:58 PM on May 21, 2012

I have worn both. I find the dailies more comfortable. I also enjoy knowing that I won't get the same irritated interior eyelid problems that I had with monthly lenses (apparently, I was cleaning them incorrectly). As far as inside out goes, I worried about that, too...until I didn't. I just quit worrying about it and at this point I'm convinced that there is no "inside out" or "right side out" for dailies. I just pop 'em in facing whatever way they happen to be facing and I never feel a difference. That said, once every 2-3 weeks, I'll get a dud lens that just won't quite adhere to my eyeball no matter what I do. I attribute this to the fact that they're more cheaply made, just by virtue of being daily throwaways.

So for pros, I'd list 1) comfort, 2) convenience, and 3) eyeball health. For the cons, I'd list 1) price, although not by much.
posted by Quizicalcoatl at 3:51 PM on May 21, 2012

Best answer: First of all, a tip for putting them in (I'll describe it as best as I can): When you balance the lens on your finger and drop some saline in it you will notice the edges going slightly wobbly, that means they are right side up. When they are more rigid, just switch it around, reconfirm the edges look more malleable, and you'll be good to go. IANAD, but I assume this has something to do with the lens conforming to the shape of your eyeball. It can be subtle, so you may need to check it more than once but usually once you compare the two ways, it becomes rather obvious. Please email me if you need me to describe this better, and I'll try to clarify. Also, if the lens feels initially uncomfortable at all, just pop it out and flip it around. The discomfort should disappear immediately if it's an inside out lens issue. Now as for switching to dailies:

I love my dailies! Like you, I have run the gamut from yearly to monthly to weekly, and have been wearing dailies for at least 7 years now (possibly more). It has been doubly great since I am prone to allergies. While the initial outlay of money can seem like a lot, I think when you factor in all the solutions, disinfectants, & containers you won't need to buy, the sticker shock reduces considerably. Seriously, it takes me forever to go through a bottle of saline, and I wear my contacts pretty much every day. I recommend still getting a pair of glasses. You probably already know this, but any eye doctor will tell you that bed to bed is not the best for your eye because it needs to breathe. If you can put off insertion for a little bit in the morning (like an hour), and take them out at least an hour before bed your eyes will be much happier for it. Also, some days are just glasses days.

Some people have issues with the moisture level in the lens, and, after using a few different brands, I have been very, very happy with Ciba Vision's Aqua Comfort Plus. No matter what the brand, I have never been able to successfully reuse a daily. I have occasionally worn them overnight (or during an exceptionally long nap), rinsed the crap out of them, & put them back in, but if my eyes have been closed for more than a few hours, it's usually not that comfortable. I would suggest prolonging use or wearing them overnight only as an emergency measure. The one downside is sometimes you get a defective lens and it is incredibly annoying. The nice part about it though is you just pitch it and pop in a new one. At most, it has happened to me a couple of times a year, and that could be overstating it. Good luck with the test run!
posted by katemcd at 3:52 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I made the switch to dailies because I had keratoconjunctivitis a few years ago, because my ophthalmologist thought the problem was related to the preservatives in the contact lens storage/cleaning liquid. It was the worst of the other lens-related problems I've had over the years, which included blepharitis and giant papillary conjunctivitis. I'm completely wedded to the dailies now; they feel lighter on the eye, they're always clean and fresh when I put them in, etc.

I would never try to make them stretch more than one day after all the other lens-related issues I've had, some of which were my fault due to inadequate cleaning/storage. Dirty lenses = a world, a WORLD of pain and inconvenience. I learned this the hard way.

I do notice a difference if I put one in the wrong way round - not so much in the vision, but it feels a bit irritated like there's something in the eye and they are "floppier" on the eye. You can tell by the curvature - pop the lens on the tip of your finger and see if it looks like a perfect curve or if the edges kind of turn out a bit. Mine have a little '123' etched into them, so you can tell which is the right way up. You don't see the '123' when they're on the eye.

Funny enough, I've never torn a daily at all. I have short nails, maybe that's why?
posted by andraste at 5:30 PM on May 21, 2012

The one thing that I have found difficult is being able to tell whether I am trying to put them into my eye inside-out. Any tips on that account?

Focus Dailies have some text written onto the lense which you can use to help you ensure that you don't wear them inside out. At least mine do.

Only downside to daily contact lenses is that they are quite a bit more expensive. Look online to get a better deal but cost per day will still be higher than monthly ones.
posted by mr_silver at 1:12 AM on May 22, 2012

I just wanted to add that you should keep a small bottle of saline handy. I sometimes get dust or a stray eyelash stuck to the lens when putting it on, and need to rinse it out.
posted by Safiya at 8:03 AM on May 22, 2012

Best answer: I use the Acuvue Moist Dailies (still cheaper than the normal Acuvue Dailies) and they have the little numbers for telling inside-outness, which I never use. They also have a noticeable right vs. wrong side for me, when they are the right way around the sides will curve smoothly, when they are wrong way around the side will have more of a hat shape... Like this helpful diagram.

Learn to take them out without a mirror. When you feel yourself drifting into a wonderful afternoon nap, you don't need to get up to go take out your contacts. Just pull them and toss them. (Uh, yeah, OK, so I don't keep a trash can near to my bed, so I have one shelf which ends up with a ton of little dried out contact shards, but I vacuum it so it's OK!)

For bringing the price down a little, I just today used a coupon code (retailmenot) when ordering mine online. See what your vision insurance allows.
posted by anaelith at 2:28 PM on May 22, 2012

Go the dailies! I switched because my leave-in monthlies caused me to get an awful eye infection... never again. The ophthalmologist who saw me said that the vast majority of people who come in with problems wear biweekly or monthly contacts. Eye health is so important - for me at least it justifies the price difference, and the convenience of never having to wash and store contacts is a nice added bonus!
posted by lovedbymarylane at 5:24 AM on May 23, 2012

I wore 2 week/monthly lenses for years, but switched to dailies a year ago and, no joke, they've changed my life. The floppiness is no problem for me, though I do understand the inside-out thing. They just seem to fold the correct way, in my experience.
posted by Pax at 7:01 AM on May 24, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone, for your helpful advice!

The trial lenses came in a few days ago and I've been loving them. Thanks, katemcd, for the drop of saline tip! I find that if they are wet, the will try to roll up in the correct orientation, so that helps me to tell whether they are inside-out or not.

It still weirds me out to throw them away every night, but having a fresh lens every morning is awesome!
posted by blurker at 9:40 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

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