Today, in continued recognition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Contact Lens Health Week, 1-800 Contacts is providing an overview on contact lens solution and how to best use it to keep lenses clean. A recent CDC study indicated that over half of contact lens wearers are not adhering to recommended health practices when using contact lens solution.
Proactively and effectively cleaning contact lenses helps maintain the quality of the lenses throughout their lives and, more importantly, helps protect the health of the eye. The disinfection process is simple and, with a few easy steps, anyone can learn to correctly maintain their contacts.
There are two major choices in contact lens solutions, multipurpose solutions and hydrogen peroxide solutions, and each is used differently.
The big advantage of multipurpose solutions is that the same solution can be used to clean, rinse, disinfect and store contact lenses. 1-800 Contacts offers multipurpose solutions, such as Aquasoft Advanced, for lens care.
Cleaning your Contact Lenses (multipurpose solutions)
- Wash your hands before handling your contacts.
- Splash a few drops of solution into the palm of your hand and place one of the lenses in it.
- Use small circles when you rub the lenses and be sure to do both sides.
- Rinse them with solution once they have been rubbed. This keeps everything from settling back on the lens.
- Repeat daily.
The disinfection process is a great time to use protein removers. Just remember to rinse the lenses afterward.
Hydrogen peroxide solutions are an excellent choice for cleaning and disinfecting contact lenses. Since hydrogen peroxide tends to be hypoallergenic, this type of solution is often best for patients with solution sensitivities or allergies. Hydrogen peroxide solution can be used to rub, rinse, and store the contact lenses, but it also requires a critical step of neutralization. The neutralization step is usually accomplished by placing the lenses into a special case that contains a neutralizing disc that reacts with the hydrogen peroxide solution. If using a hydrogen peroxide system, be sure to never put the solution directly into your eyes or on the contact lens without first neutralizing. It's also very important to change the cases with every new bottle of solution because the neutralization disc loses its effectiveness with use.
Both of these types of solutions require that the contact lenses be soaked for several hours. In most cases, the lenses should be left to soak overnight (at least six hours). Some brands allow for shorter soak times so, for details, check the box.
Another thing to be aware of when it comes to contact lens solutions is the possibility of allergic reaction or sensitivity. Many contact lens solutions use preservatives to maintain the shelf-life of the product. Check the dates on the bottle before using the solution and, if you experience any discomfort, be sure to contact a doctor.
Additional Tips to Keep your Contacts Clean
- Rinse out the contact lens case each day and replace the solution. Never reuse old solution.
- Saline solutions are safe for rinsing, but not for cleaning or disinfecting. These solutions are safe for storage and rinsing, but only when paired with a heat or UV disinfection system. These solutions should never be used for disinfection or cleaning.
- Do not apply contacts, freshly rinsed with hydrogen peroxide solution, to your eyes. They always need to be neutralized first. Application of hydrogen peroxide to the eyes can have damaging effects.
- Keep the tip of the contact lens solution bottle away from surfaces. It should never touch a counter, a container, or even the lenses.
- Replace contact lens cases every month. These tools are handy, but they collect bacteria, even when stored correctly.
- Never run your contacts under tap water. Only use contact lens solutions to rinse and disinfect. Tap water can carry eye irritants and, sometimes, bacteria. To avoid unnecessary discomfort and infection, only use FDA-approved solutions to disinfect your contacts.
1-800 Contacts recommends cleaning your contact lenses daily to ensure that your eyes stay healthy and to provide clearer vision.