A guide to choosing disposable monthly contact lenses
Monthly or 30 Day Replacement Contact Lenses?
Monthly disposable lenses (or 30 Day Contact Lenses) are one type of lens that you may want to try. These are designed to be worn during the day and removed at night for cleaning and storage.
After 30 days, they should be thrown away and a new pair used. This ensures that the lenses never get a build-up of dirt, debris and minerals, helping to keep your eyes healthy.
Historically, prior to the advent of monthly contact lenses, it was common to replace contacts annually. However, as these annual lenses became progressively dirtier through the year it led to all sorts of eye health related problems like red eyes and blurred vision.
Acuvue monthly contact lenses were the first real innovation towards regular replacement in contact lens wear and were launched in 1987 by Johnson and Johnson. At the time, it was a complete revolution for Optometrists and Acuvue lenses quickly established themselves as a much safer proposition compared to the old 'annual' contact lenses. Before long, monthly contact lenses were the dominant method of wearing contact lenses. The original Acuvue lenses have since been superseded by newer and better contact lenses, but the closest lens to the original Acuvue lens is Acuvue 2 - a two week replacement contact lens.
What is the best Type of Monthly Contact Lens?
Monthly contact lenses quickly established themselves after 1987 and many manufacturers launched their own versions. If you're wondering if monthly lenses are suitable for your requirements, the answer is probably yes. In the past, only a few vision problems could be treated with this option, but with recent developments in contact lens technology, it's likely that there's a pair of monthly lenses that will work for you.
Today there are many types to choose from, but these can be broken down into groups:
Standard Monthly LensesThese are the closest cousins of the original lenses and have the following advantages:
- Tend to be a little thicker than daily lenses, so can be easier to insert and remove
- Come in a wide range of prescriptions , including lenses for astigmatism, multifocal and coloured
- Often use older contact lens materials, typically Methafilcon A - which a lot of people can find more comfortable
- Can work out cheaper than Daily or two week lenses
The main disadvantage of this type of lens is that the older materials used do not let as much Oxygen to the eye as newer materials, so limiting total safe wearing time.
Good example of these lenses are Soflens 59, Frequency 55 Aspheric and Crystal Monthly. Standard monthly lenses are slowly being discontinued by manufacturers (for example the original Acuvue, Surevue and Focus Visitint) in favour of more advanced materials.
Advanced Silicone Monthly Lenses
Many scientists and Optometrists believe silicone hydrogel is a game-changer in the contact lens industry. Not only will this material increase user comfort, designers believe silicone hydrogel could significantly improve a patient’s corneal health over the long period compared to standard soft lens materials.
The main reason Optometrist are interested in using silicone hydrogel is because it’s far more oxygen permeable than traditional soft contacts. This means silicone hydrogel lenses are great at increasing the amount of oxygen that reaches the cornea.
The new generation of `super oxygen permeable` Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses have the following advantages:
- can transmit six to seven times more oxygen through to your eye than conventional standard soft contact lenses, so are much healthier for your eyes.
- contain less water than conventional soft lenses, so are less prone to drying out,
- are more resistant to protein deposits and have easier handling due to the greater rigidity of the lenses.
- come in a wide range of prescriptions, including astigmatism, multifocal and coloured
- some silicone lenses are designed for continuous wear
Why Would I choose a Monthly Lens instead of a Daily Lens?
Good question! Traditionally monthly contact lenses were significantly cheaper than Daily Contact lenses, so that was one of the main reason for choosing monthly contact lenses. But now, daily contact lenses like Crystal Aqua Daily can actually work out cheaper than a popular Monthly Contact Lens like Biofinity. Advances in manufacturing technology have allowed this to happen and of course the added solution and case cost push the cost of monthly lenses up.
Here is a cost pricing example:
How Much do Daily Lenses Cost Compared to Monthly Lenses?
|Daily Lenses||Cost Per Month||Monthly Lenses||Cost per Month|
|Crystal Aqua Daily||£13.98/30 pairs||Biofinity|| £9.16 (1 pair)
+ £8.25 (solution & case) = £17.41
|Focus Dailies All Day Comfort||£29.00/30 pairs|
|1 Day Acuvue Moist||£35.98/30 pairs|
So, incredibly, Crystal Aqua Daily work out to be cheaper than monthly lenses (£13.98 / month for Crystal Aqua Dailies v £17.41 /month for Biofinity Monthly) and as the name suggests, daily disposable lenses are designed for one-day usage - so are very convenient and no hassle.
Which is the Best Coloured Month Contact Lenses?
Monthly disposable contact lenses are also available in coloured versions. These are a great option if you want a simple way to enhance your appearance and see perfectly at the same time.
Popular coloured contact lenses are Freshlook Colours, Air Optix Colors (which also has the advantage of containing silicone) and Soflens Natural Color. All of these lenses come in a wide variety of colours like blue,green, grey or brown.
How Do I Clean Month Contact Lenses?
One item every monthly contact lens wearer needs is a high-quality disinfecting solution. Regular use of contact lens solution is essential for getting rid of potentially harmful debris, protein deposits, and bacteria that might otherwise accumulate on your lenses.
Every night monthly lenses need to be removed, cleaned with All In One Disinfecting Solution and stored in a contact lens case with fresh solution using this procedure:
- First and foremost, always wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling your contacts.
- Never let your lenses come into contact with tap water as this could potentially contaminate them with bacteria, parasites, and viruses.
- Once you have a lens in your thumb, apply a few drops of your chosen solution on the front and back and rub gently it with your index finger. You could then either place the contact lens in your eye or put it inside your contact lens case with enough fresh solution to submerge it.
- As a general rule, it’s best to change your contact lens container’s solution about every 24 hours. Of course, check with your doctor and the solution’s manufacturer for more precise details.
- Never “top off” old solution with a tiny amount of new disinfectant. It might seem like you’re saving money using this technique, but you’re only putting yourself at a greater risk for infections. Instead, drain your case thoroughly every morning and only use new solution each night.
Can I sleep in Monthly Contact Lenses?
Standard Monthly lenses that use older materials are not designed for sleeping in overnight, but new generation Continuous wear contact lenses that contain silicone can be, if designed for this purpose.
A typical example of a Overnight Continuous wear 30 Day (Monthly) contact lens is Air Optix Night & Day Aqua - the clue is in the name!
Air Optix Night & Day Aqua is made from a breakthrough material, Lotrafilcon A, which makes sleeping in lenses much safer. The special ingredient which makes the lens so permeable is siloxane, not water, and this allows up to 6 times more oxygen to the cornea than standard soft lenses, making it a healthier option compared to lenses that let less oxygen through to your eye. The patented lens material helps to maintain moisture by minimising the rate of lens dehydration, creating an all day comfortable lens. In addition, an ultra smooth surface has been specifically designed to resist deposits so that your lenses stay clean and comfortable day after day.
Do Monthly Contact Lenses come in my Prescription?
Almost definitely! Monthly Contact Lenses can be found that cover a prescription range from +20.00 Dioptres to -20.00 Dioptres (bearing in mind the average short sighted person is about -2.00 Dioptres. In addition there are powers that correct astigmatism, like Biofinity Toric and even Multifocal Monthly Contact Lenses like Air Optix Multifocal Plus Hydraglyde. Both of these advanced new generation lenses also contain silicone, so you have all the added advantages of extra 'breathability' and comfort.
If you're interested in getting contact lenses of any type, you should first discuss your options with your eye care practitioner. The specialist can help you decide on a solution that provides the best vision correction and which keeps your eyes in a healthy condition. In addition, they can carry out a contact lens fitting to ensure you get the right lenses for the size and shape of your eyes.
Don't forget that most adults should try to get their eyes checked every two years - and those over 70 should see an optician every year. You might also want to find out if you're eligible for a free eye exam on the NHS.
Once you're ready to start shopping, Contactlenses.co.uk can help you find the right product for your requirements. We have many years of experience in providing high-quality lenses from top brands and we work hard to provide excellent service and low prices.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 24 Apr 2015, Last modified: 4 Mar 2020