You've probably heard a lot about them, so Dr. Rhodes gives you the dish on why they are so popular.
Dr. Zemanovich and I (Dr. Rhodes) noticed a trend in the last few years where we are fitting more of our patients in single use contacts. We always prescribe contacts based on your type of prescription, your eye health and visual needs, the type of activities and sports you participate in and by what you convey your wants/ needs are during your eye exam visit with us. There are so many different contact lenses available on the market, so it was interesting to me to find that most patients come in asking specifically for single use contacts.
What are single use contact lenses? Single use means that you simply wear the contact lens one time, and then you throw it out when you are finished for the day. With concern for the environment, I get a lot of questions about waste. I agree, it does seem like you would be throwing out more plastic containers. However, when you factor in that you don’t have to buy contact lens solution anymore, it is actually less wasteful when you don’t have to buy the large bottles and boxes that come along with it for storage. Some single use contact lens companies are even offering to recycle your daily packages, so we can take care of that if you are interested.
I have been all for this recent trend towards single use contacts, and I am glad that our patients are picking up on it too. Single use contacts are the healthiest contact lens available for your eyes because they are created with the most current technology, versus many of the other contact lenses that have been out in the market since the 1980’s. You are putting a fresh contact lens on your eye every day, so there is a significant decrease in your risk of getting an infection. In fact, Dr. Zemanovich and I hardly see anyone wearing a single use contact lens in our exam chair for anything other than their yearly check-up. Single use contacts have brought the number of our emergency eye visits we see each day way down.
Single use contacts are also a great option for patients that have issues with seasonal allergies or dry eyes, and they are my only choice for kids under 16 and serious athletes. I also tell my patients who normally wear a monthly disposable contact lens that they should at least consider buying a 30 day supply of single-use contacts for the summer if they are going on vacation or visiting the beach.
You should absolutely not swim in your contacts if you re-wear them at all (i.e., monthly, two week, quarterly or yearly replacement). Swimming pools, oceans, rivers, hot tubs and tap water contain a cesspool of viruses, bacteria, and other dangerous microbes. Contact lens solutions do not kill 100% of the toxins on your contact lenses, so you are just setting yourself up for a major eye infection.
I know the cost of single use contacts might seem high at first, but if you factor in that you don’t have to buy contact lens solution anymore and you are giving your eyes the healthiest, safest option for seeing clearly, then there really should be no comparison. Most contact lens companies provide great rebates on these contacts too, so it ends up being around the same price.
As far as our business at Optique, we profit about the same regardless of the brand of contacts, so we are not prescribing based on potential revenue. 1-800-contacts and other big retailers have really kept the industry in check, so our sole concern is to provide you with your best options for your vision needs. If it was up to us, everyone would be wearing a single use contact lens. It is just that good for you, so let us know if you’d like for us to give you a set try at your next visit.