The phrase "daily wear contacts" is used frequently by people who wear contact lenses, but often there is a misunderstanding about what exactly these lenses are. In the old days, when there wasn't as much choice available, it was much simpler. People either wore daily wear, flexible wear (or extended wear), or rigid lenses. Now it's a little more complicated.
When a contact lens fitter refers to "daily wear", it is actually more the way the lens is worn, than a type of lens. A daily wear lens is worn during the day, and then removed at night. It is not made to be worn while sleeping.
But it can also mean a type of lens.
The confusion arose when different types and styles of lenses came out. Most frequently, a daily wear lens will be mixed up with a daily disposable lens. Making the distinction here almost seems obvious, but it is still confusing to most people.
Daily wear contact lens: A conventional old style lens that is made to last approximately one year. Very common in the '80's, and declining in use in recent years. This lens is typically much thicker than more modern lenses and is only to be worn 8-10 hours per day. It is usually thicker in order to last longer. Some people like the thickness which makes them easier to handle, but many people found them uncomfortable due to the thickness.
Daily disposable: a contact lens that is made to last one day only. Much thinner than other contact lenses, it is usually more comfortable and healthier than other lenses. It is worn as a "daily wear" lens, meaning it is not to be worn overnight. This description of how it is used can help to create some of the misconceptions.
See our page on daily disposable contact lenses.
Because of the newer, thinner, healthier and more comfortable lenses on the market today, daily wear contact lenses are not worn by as many people any more. Those who don't have difficulty with comfort, have very healthy eyes, and only wear lenses infrequently are the best candidates for this type of lens.
The biggest benefits of daily wear lenses is their low cost, and that they last a long time. They are also easy to handle. However, their disadvantages are numerous: