How Many Hours Per Day Can I Wear Contact Lenses?
For lifelong glasses-wearers or those new to contacts, it can be difficult to determine how long to wear contacts each day. With a wide variety of lenses available, the specific directions and differences between the types of contacts can be intimidating and slightly overwhelming. For example, contact lens use can range from daily and one-time wear, to FDA- approved overnight lenses, thus creating a variation in how long contact lenses can be worn. However, here at ContactsDirect, we are here to dispel rumors and to let you know once and for all how long you can leave contact lenses in.
“As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to wear your contacts for a full day without a problem,” explains Dr. Wende, Medical Director for ContactsDirect. “This length of time can be as long as 16 hours a day for some people, but may only be eight hours a day for others.” The difference between the length of time differs from person to person, and can be due to individual factors like dry eyes, work environment or increased sensitivity. Typically, those with dry, sensitive eyes can’t wear contacts for as long as someone who does not suffer from these symptoms. If this is the case, switching to contacts specifically designed for dry, sensitive eyes could be beneficial.
Read more: Dry Eyes and Contacts
If you are new to contact lenses and have been wondering how long you should wear contact lenses for the first time, the same length of time typically applies. Wearing contacts for the first time may initially cause some awareness, and it will take your body a couple minutes, hours, or even days to get accustomed to the sensation. On your first day of contact lens use, try to wear them for about eight hours or as much as recommended by your doctor to give your eyes the chance to get adapted. Use this time to make sure that your eyes are adjusting nicely to the contact lenses, and that no discomfort or irritation has occurred. Whether new to contacts or a seasoned veteran, always report any discomfort or irritation to your eye doctor.
Another important factor to consider in determining how long to wear contacts each day is the type of contact lens you’ve been prescribed. Most contact lenses should not be worn overnight, as it could increase the risk of eye infection. Contacts meant for daily or one-time use can generally be worn up to 14 to 16 hours with no problem, but your doctor may recommend a contact-free hour or two before bedtime in order to rest your eyes. Contacts designed for continual use can be worn overnight, but, again, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Read more: Is it Bad to Sleep in Your Contacts?