Contact Lens Care and Cleaning
Ever find yourself confused when trying to decide which contact lens product to purchase? There are daily cleaners, multi-purpose solutions, cleaning and disinfecting devices, enzymatic cleaners and protein removers. Even though it may be confusing to see so many choices, it is essential to understand contact lens care. Not caring for your lenses properly can lead to a variety of eye infections, including some that can cause serious vision loss.
One-bottle care systems and disposable contact lenses simplify lens care, but one system doesn’t work for all types of lenses. Your eye doctor is the one who should choose the best product for your eyes and for your type of contact lenses. Always check with your eye doctor before changing products—even if you are thinking of using a generic brand that is supposed to be the equivalent of a name-brand product. While these products are safe and FDA-approved, they are sometimes made from older formulations which don’t offer the same advantages as newer products.
It’s also important to ask your eye doctor about what eye drops to use for lubricating your eye and rewetting your contacts. Eye drops that aren’t meant for contact lenses can temporarily change how the lens fits your eye or possibly discolor the lens. If your eyes are sensitive to preservatives, preservative-free products or products with a “disappearing” preservative (the preservative is gone before the solution comes in contact with your eyes) may be helpful. Be sure to pay close attention to the expiration date on all contact lens solutions, especially preservative-free solutions.
Here are a few must-do tips on handling and caring for your contact lenses.
- Always wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses.
- Clean your contacts after every use.
- Clean and disinfect your lenses if they are stored more than 48 hours.
- All contacts are not alike, clean and store as recommended by your eye doctor.
- Never use saliva or water or saline to clean contact lenses. These will not kill microorganisms that can cause serious vision-threatening eye infections.
- Never touch solution bottle tips to any surface, including your body. The solution can become contaminated.
- Remember to clean your contact lens accessories (lens case, cleaning/disinfecting devices, enzymatic cleaner vials, etc.) letting them air dry every day. Discard lens cases on a monthly basis to avoid contamination.
If redness or irritation occurs while wearing your contacts, discontinue use and call your eye doctor immediately.
Taking the time to care properly for your contact lenses will not only keep your eyes healthy and comfortable, but allow you the freedom from eyeglasses that contact lens wear brings.