How do I properly care for contact lenses?

It is important to properly care for contact lenses.  Contact-lens wear involves placing a foreign body on the ocular surface; when the eyes are shut, the lenses are almost in a body cavity. Lenses, then, should be scrupulously clean, and hygiene is essential. Wash your hands in soap and water, and dry them thereafter before insertion and removal. Use only commercially available lens solutions as homemade ones are more subject to contamination. Store the lenses properly, and do not wear the lenses overnight for the best possible results.
Any lens that is removed from the eye needs to be cleaned and disinfected before it is reinserted. Your doctor will discuss the best type of cleansing system for you, depending on the type of lens you use, any allergies you might have, and whether or not your eyes tend to form protein deposits.
Contact lens wearers should follow proper lens care practices to prevent eye infection and maintain healthy eyes. Based on the new guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following care is recommended:
  • Wear and replace your lenses according to the schedule your doctor gives you. Daily wear lenses should not be worn while sleeping.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water and dry with a lint-free towel before touching your contact lenses.
  • Follow the lens cleaning and storage guidelines from your doctor and the solution manufacturer. Homemade saline solutions should not be used.
  • Consider performing a “rub and rinse” lens cleaning method, rather than a no-rub method, regardless of the type of cleaning/disinfecting solution that you use.
  • Use fresh cleaning or disinfecting solution each time lenses are cleaned and stored. Never reuse or top off old solution.
  • Rinse the contact lens case with sterile contact lens solution and leave open to air dry after each use. Never use tap water.
  • Keep the contact lens case clean and replace it at least every three months. Do not use cracked or damaged contact lens cases.
  • Remove contact lenses before any activity involving contact with water, including showering, using a hot tub, or swimming.
  • Remove the lenses and consult your ophthalmologist immediately if you experience symptoms such as redness, pain, tearing, increased light sensitivity, blurry vision, discharge, or swelling.
  • Do not put your lenses in your mouth to wet them. Saliva is not a sterile solution.
  • Do not transfer contact lens solution into smaller travel-size containers. This can affect the sterility of the solution, which can lead to an eye infection.
  • Do not allow the tip of the solution bottle to come in contact with any surface, and keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
  • Some experts recommend that if you use contact lenses sporadically you consider using single-use daily disposable lenses.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.