My preteen daughter sometimes wears her daily-wear contacts overnight or even for two nights. Is this safe? Also, what do you think of those novelty contacts that you can get without a prescription?

Dr. Greene`s Answer:

Contacts have been in the news recently with the FDA warning consumers about the dangers of nonprescription, “costume” contacts. These can cause eye irritation, infections, and sometimes lasting eye damage, partly because the quality may not be high, and partly because they may not fit appropriately–but also because people tend to not use them appropriately.

Even if they are perfectly good prescription lenses, wearers sometimes leave them in too long or don’t keep them clean, or handle them with hands that aren’t clean. This can lead to problems like eye ulcers, corneal abrasion, and infections.

If your child frequently wears her contacts overnight, you may want to consider purchasing extended wear contact lenses. These special lenses may be worn for up to 2 to 4 weeks at a time. You can talk to your optometrist to see if these contact lenses are a good option for your daughter.

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Alan Greene MD contributor

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