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Home » Contact Lenses Plus » All About Contacts » Types of Contact Lenses » Continuous Wear Contacts (Silicone Hyrogels)

Continuous Wear Contacts (Silicone Hyrogels)

What is continuous wear?

In order to understand the definition of continuous wear contact lenses, it is important to understand the other definitions of contact lens wear. They are as follows:

  • Daily Wear: Wearing of contact lenses during waking hours only, i.e., no overnight wear at all.
  • Extended Wear: Wearing of contact lenses during waking and sleeping hours, i.e., continuous 24 hour wear for a specified number of days. NOTE: The FDA recommends no longer than six (6) consecutive nights wear for traditional extended-wear lenses.
  • Flexible Wear: Wearing of the contact lenses as either a daily wear and/or extended wear basis. The wearer has the “flexibility” in choosing their wear modality based upon circumstance. Flexible wear has come to mean a contact lens worn mostly on a daily wear basis with occasional extended wear, e.g., 2–3 consecutive nights, such as over the weekend.
  • Continuous Wear: Wearing of contact lenses for up to 30 consecutive nights wear without removal from the eye.

Continuous wear contact lenses are thus an extension of extended wear. Instead of being limited to only 6 nights (7 days) of extended wear, the FDA approved continuous wear lenses to be worn on an extended wear basis for up to 30 nights (31 days).  Your replacement schedule will be prescribed by your eye doctor. Typically these lenses are replaced on a monthly basis.

How are these lenses different from other contact lenses?

These lenses are produced from a new generation of contact lens material, i.e., silicone hydrogel. They provide for a very high level of oxygen transmission through the lens and thus to the cornea. The FDA first granted approval for continuous wear of high Dk silicone hydrogel lenses in the United States on October 12, 2001.

What risks do continuous wear contact lenses have?

The risks for continuous wear contact lenses are the same for all contact lens wear, the most serious of which is microbial keratitis. You must closely follow your prescribed lens care regimen, replacement regimen, and wear schedule and return for check up visits.


The above information was produced for Contact Lens Docs.Com. Advisor was John S. Massare, PhD. Thanks to Contact Lens Docs for content used in the creation of this website. All rights reserved.  Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited.

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