Contact lens costsDaily and monthly lenses virtually identical

06 April 2006

Most contact lenses for weekly or monthly wear are virtually identical to cheaper daily disposable lenses, says Which? today.

In many cases the only real difference, according to experts we consulted, is the price because while daily lenses cost around GBP 1 a pair, long-life lenses are nearly GBP 6 a pair.

Which? calculates this means people who use weekly or monthly contact lenses could be spending as much as GBP 190 more than they need to over a year. With proper care, most one-day lenses would be expected to last as long as a monthly pair.

Similar material

Two experts Which? consulted - a contact lens maker and an optician, each with 30 years' experience - assessed published information on each manufacturer's contact lenses.

They agreed that daily lenses from four manufacturers were virtually the same as their longer-life ones. They were made of similar material with only slightly different diameters, thickness and curves which had no bearing on whether the lenses could be reused.

No evidence was found, for example, that Johnson & Johnson's 1 - Day Acuvue lenses couldn't be worn for longer. And while Bausch & Lomb says its Soflens Comfort monthly lens contains a more advanced material than its One Day, the label shows the Comfort has the same basic chemistry as the One Day but contains slightly less water.

Coopervision's Biomedics 1-day and longer-life Biomedics 55UV and Frequency 55 lenses have 'virtually identical fitting characteristics, thickness and material', according to one expert, who said he'd regard them as inter-changeable.

Ciba Vision's were different

He also found Sauflon's daily New Day and monthly Clear Comfort lenses identical, from material and dimensions to manufacturing process.

Ciba Vision was the only maker to produce completely different daily and monthly lenses, made from a different material and in a different way.

It's important that all contact lens wearers get advice from an eye care professional about the best lenses for them and check how to clean them properly.