Cleaning Contact Lenses: Everything You Need to Know About Contact Lens Care
You put in a fresh pair of contacts and everything is clear, crisp, and bright. Luckily, you can keep things that way. It all starts with cleaning your contact lenses the right way and following the right hygiene routine. This guide will teach you the right way to care for your contact lenses so your lenses stay clean, your vision stays clear, and your eyes stay healthy.
If you use daily disposable contact lenses, skip down to the last two sections of this guide. Why? Because instead of cleaning your contact lenses, you simply throw them away at the end of every day. This type of contact lens has absolutely no maintenance.
For everyone else, however, there are things you need to do every day to keep your contacts clean and disinfected.
Steps for Cleaning Contact Lenses
Here are the steps you take:
- Believe it or not, the first step in cleaning your contacts has nothing to do with your eyes. Instead, it has to do with your hands. Be sure that your hands are clean before touching your contact lenses or eyes. Wash your hands with hot water and soap. The soap should be fragrance and lotion free. Use a lint-free towel to dry your hands thoroughly.
- Have your contact case and contact solution ready to use.
The best time to clean your contact case is when you put your contacts in. This way, the case will be ready when you remove your lenses later in the day.
To clean your case, rinse it with contact solution. Do not rinse with water. Let the case air dry. Finally, replace your case on a quarterly basis to avoid a buildup of bacteria that can cause eye infections.
- Remove one of your contact lenses.
- Add three to four drops of contact solution onto the lens and place in the palm of your hand.
- Rub the contact lens gently into your palm with the tip of your finger. Be sure to use this step even if the contact solution you use says it is a no-rub variety. Also, be sure to be gentle. If you rub too vigorously, you may rip your lens.
- Rinse the lens completely using your contact solution.
- Add fresh solution to your contact case. Be sure that the case is clean before use. Also, do not reuse solution left in the case from the day before.
- Put the lens in the case.
- Now, repeat steps three through eight with the second lens.
- Let contacts soak. Be sure to read the directions on the bottle of solution to know how long they need to soak.
Thinking About Contact Lens Solution
The steps above work for anyone using multipurpose contact solution. However, there are different types of solutions available. Be sure to follow the directions for the type of solution you use.
- Multipurpose Solution: This contact solution allows you to rinse, clean, disinfect, and store your contacts. This type of solution is easy to use and makes cleaning contact lenses super-simple. A majority of contact wearers prefer multipurpose solution.
- Saline Solution: This pH-balanced, saltwater solution can be used to rinse off your lenses, but should not be used to clean, disinfect or store them. This is because saline solution does not contain any cleaning agents. Generally, those who use it as a cleaning solution do so with a UV or heat system to disinfect their contacts.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: This solution cleans contacts and is typically used by people who have reactions to other solutions. When using hydrogen peroxide, you have to be careful to keep the solution out of your eye. Once you clean your lenses, you also need to disinfect them using UV or heat. Then you have to neutralize them. Cleaning with hydrogen peroxide is the most time-consuming and expensive cleaning process.
Follow Directions for Good Contact Lens Care
When it comes to caring for your contact lenses, the most important thing is to follow the directions provided to you.
- Always look at the instructions on the packaging for your:
- Contact lenses
- Contact solution
- Lens case
More Contact Lens Care Tips
To keep your eyes healthy, there are a few more lens care things to think about besides cleaning. Here are some points to keep in mind.
- Don’t try to save money by buying a large container of contact solution and then transferring the solution to smaller containers for traveling. Doing so will make the solution unsterile.
- Always put the cap back on your solution bottle.
- Make sure the tip of the solution bottle does not touch anything while you are using it to avoid contamination.
- Always stick to the manufacturer’s replacement schedule. Wearing contacts longer than that can cause damage to your eyes.
- Never clean contacts with water.
- Do not put contacts in your mouth.
- Always use the correct product for the task at hand. In other words, do not use eye drops to clean, or hydrogen peroxide to store.
Eye Care Beyond Cleaning
Although you need to have a regular cleaning schedule, there are other issues that may require some changes in how you care for your eyes and lenses.
If you have protein buildup, your doctor may recommend a protein removal product. Cleaning your lenses removes buildup, but some people have more buildup than others. This makes contacts feel uncomfortable. Of course, what your eye doctor suggests will depend on the amount of protein in your eyes and the type of lenses you wear.
Dry eyes may require a rewetting drop. This helps your eyes feel moist and lubricated. Be sure to use drops made for those wearing contact lenses.
Sensitive Eyes & Allergies
You may find that you are sensitive to a particular brand of contact solution. It’s important to talk to your eye doctor because they can recommend a different solution. Most of the time, people with sensitive eyes need a preservative-free product.
More Eye Health Tips
In addition to taking care of your contact lenses, you also need to take care of your eyes. This will help you avoid eye infections that could lead to permanent vision loss.
- If you notice redness, pain, light-sensitivity, blurriness, swelling, discharge, or excessive tearing, take your contacts out right away. Then call your eye doctor to schedule an appointment.
- Stop smoking to limit problems wearing contact lenses.
- Do not wear cosmetic lenses without a prescription from your eye doctor. Wearing cosmetic lenses found in costume stores can damage your eyes permanently.
- See your eye doctor on a regular basis. For those wearing contacts, you should see an eye doctor at least once a year. Your doctor may recommend more frequent visits depending on your eye health. And they will help you determine the right contacts to wear for your vision issues and lifestyle.
- Always wear contacts with an accurate prescription. Contact prescriptions expire yearly.
That’s it! By following these steps and tips for cleaning contact lenses, you will have clean lenses and help prevent eye infections as well.