How long should contacts last?

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Updated: 1/14/2003 1:31 pm Published: 1/14/2003 1:31 pm

How long your contact lenses last depends on a number of variables. The first variable is the type of lens you're wearing, and how long it's designed to last. ""Rigid, gas-permeable"" lenses, or ""RGP's"" (R-G-Ps), are very durable and have a relatively long life of a year or more. ""Extended-wear"" lenses are available for overnight wear in soft or RGP lenses. They can usually be worn up to seven days without removal. ""Extended-wear disposables"" are soft lenses worn for an extended period of time, from one to seven days and then discarded. There are also disposable lenses that are worn once and then discarded. One problem that can occur if you're wearing throwaway lenses that come in multiple packs, is that if your eye becomes irritated, you may simply use another throwaway lens, rather than checking with a doctor before using a replacement lens. With regular contacts, you would likely have to see an eye doctor for a replacement, and the doctor could find a potentially serious problem during the exam. ""Planned replacement"" lenses are soft, daily-wear lenses that are replaced on a planned schedule, most often either every two weeks, monthly, or quarterly. With so many choices, it's important not to push the wear date past the intended life span of the lens. As with any product, the less often it's used and the better care of it you take, the longer it will last. Regardless of the type of lens you choose, proper care in cleaning, disinfection, and handling are necessary to ensure that you get the most out of the lens's intended life span.

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