Research into the design and use of contact lenses is ongoing, as scientists seek better understanding of the potential effects of these optical devices and the ways that they are used by those who wear them. Knowing how they are used and finding novel ways that contact lenses can improve quality of life or ocular health, expands the possibilities of current lens types and can indicate possible new lines of research that may produce even more advanced products and lead to greater understanding of the interaction between the eye and contact lenses.
Allergens and daily disposable lenses
Ocular allergies is a common problem at certain times of the year, especially in the springtime when levels of pollen increase significantly. The types of symptoms experienced by those who have allergy to airborne allergens and pollens include burning and redness of the eye as well as irritation and watering of the eyes.
British research published in the journal Contact Lens & Anterior Eye (2011) has shown that daily disposable contact lenses are an excellent way to combat the irritating effects of airborne allergens, including pollen and other pollutants. Grass pollen was the main focus of the tests, but the same principle likely applies to other allergens, too.
A control group was tested for irritation both while wearing and not wearing contact lenses. The conclusion of the study was that daily disposable contact lenses acted as a barrier to airborne allergens and significant improvement was seen by the use of these lenses.
Studies have also been conducted in the US that have demonstrated similar improvements. One study assessed a group of patients who used regular contact lenses compared with a group who were given daily disposable lenses.
The latter group again experienced more comfort and fewer problems. Other than acting as a barrier, the reasons for the benefits include the fact that because the lenses are thrown away after just a single day’s use it means that any pollens and proteins do not get a chance to build up and irritate the eye.
Other benefits of daily disposable contact lenses
Besides helping to protect the eye from irritation by such airborne allergens as pollen, daily disposable contact lenses have other major benefits for the wearer.
Though they are more costly than other options in terms of up-front expenditures, they may be cheaper in the long run because there is no need to purchase cleaning products for daily disposable contact lenses, further lessening their overall cost compared to other types of lenses. At a minimum, a multipurpose solution or hydrogen peroxide solution, plus some type of protein remover, is needed for extended wear contact lenses.
Since other recent studies show that large numbers of contact lens wearers do not comply with their wear schedule or care of lenses, daily disposable lenses may also prove to be an effective way of reducing the risks of developing other kinds of infections and problems associated with wearing contact lenses. Many wearers simply find daily disposable lenses to be the most comfortable option too.