Disposable contacts: What you need to know

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Disposable contact lenses are a necessity for millions, but squeezing extra time out of those lenses or using the wrong type, could cost money, even eye problems. WMBF News has the eye-opening tips before you spend another day in your disposable contact lenses, or buy your next pair.

April Doane has been wearing disposable contact lenses for 20 years and gets her eyes checked often at Socastee Eye Clinic. She can attest that people push the shelf life of those lenses.

"Friends in college would, with them I think it was more of a laziness than a necessity," Doane admits.

But for her, wearing lenses for more than a day isn't even an option. "My eyes produce a lot of protein, so I can only wear contact lenses that you throw away every day."

Optometrist Ryan Williams with Socastee Eye Clinic says clouded lens and the bumps on an infected eye lid can happen if you wear your lenses longer than they're made to be worn. "If you're wearing a monthly lens and say hey, it feels great, why can't I make it go two, maybe you can, but you're putting yourself at risk for some more eye-related issues: irritation, things like that and decreased vision."

Dr. Ryan Williams: It's a gamble and if patients want to take that gamble, that's certainly fine, that's their decision.

WMBF News Anchor Michael Maely: And you've seen some patients that have taken the gamble and have come in with problems?

Dr. Ryan Williams: Yeah, absolutely.

But April Doane is not one of those people. "It's surprising to me, just because I can't stand my vision be blurry at all."

Your chances of tearing a lens also builds up, and when it comes to the types of lenses out there, we wondered just how different they really are. So we opened three types, all different durations: a daily, 2-weekly and monthly lens. The daily lens felt the softest.

Side by side, it's really tough to tell the difference between the daily and the monthly, but Dr. Williams says you will tell the difference.

"The monthly lens allows the most oxygen to the eye so that lens tends to let your eye breath more, so it tends to be a little more comfortable," Dr. Williams asserts. "Whereas the daily lens is meant to wear for that one day, so yeah it'll feel really good for that day, but if you extend that lens out, you are more likely to notice that it's not gonna be comfortable."

Williams says the difference between the two is hardly marketing hype. "Not like they're just throwing a lens out there and saying, it works better. There is science and evidence behind those statements."

And here's how some popular brands compared by price, based on a one-year supply.

Ranking from low to high, the least expensive are the one month lenses. They run around $200 per year, a total of $260 with the solution.

You'll pay around $240 for a year supply of the two-week lenses, $300 with the solution.

And for the daily lenses, plan on paying around $440 per year. They're the most expensive, but remember you don't need any solution.

Of course your eyes will make the choice crystal clear.

The prices of all types of contact lenses will vary based on the brand, prescription and where you buy them. Regardless, Williams urges you to not keep them in your eyes, longer than recommended.

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