Contact Lens Care Saves Your Lenses and Your Eyes

Contact lenses can be a great solution for vision problems if used and cared for properly. Poor contact lens care can cause infections and other eye health problems, which could lead to vision loss. Follow these easy instructions to get the most out of your contacts safely.

Keeping the Lenses Sterile

For all contact lenses, wash your hands well with soap and dry them before touching your lenses. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer without water is not sufficient, as it sterilizes your hands but does remove particles that can scratch your cornea, and any sanitizer remaining on your hands will sting your eyes badly. Hand washing is equally as important for preventing debris from damaging your eyes and lenses as it is for averting infection.

The Mayo Clinic recommends only using commercially available and medically approved contact lens solution. Do not put the lenses in your mouth to moisten them, as your saliva contains bacteria that may grow on the lenses and harm your eyes. The same goes for water and homemade saline solutions. To prevent water in swimming pools, lakes, and the ocean from touching your lenses, remove them before swimming.

Cleaning Your Lenses

A critical part of contact lens care is cleaning, but different types of contacts require different levels of cleaning. Daily disposables are designed to be worn once and thrown away; they usually are not durable enough to withstand cleaning and storing to wear again.

For most types of lenses, you should clean them every night when you remove them. EyeSmart recommends you follow the cleaning and storage guidelines as indicated on the solution label, and they recommend a rub-and-rinse step even for no-rub solutions. With the lens and a few drops of solution in your palm, rub with one finger for 20 seconds. Rub it gently; pushing too hard can tear the lens. Washing your hands thoroughly first also helps prevent small pieces of grit from tearing the lens.

After cleaning, rinse each side of the lens with fresh solution for five seconds before placing the lens in a case with fresh solution. Use new solution every time you store your lenses. Discard the lens solution each time you put your contacts in your eyes and allow the case to air dry. EyeSmart recommends replacing the lens case after three months.

Your eye doctor may direct you to use specific type of contact solution for cleaning and storing. Use whatever your doctor directs, and check with your doctor before switching to another product or system.

For questions or comments, contact Woodhams Eye Clinic.