It seems logical that if water is safe enough to drink by the litre, it should be clean enough to store a contact lens in. But it’s not, so don’t do it! When you’re dealing with medical technology, science sometimes trumps common sense. Such is the case with contact lens hygiene.
There are millions of little microbes in seemingly clean places that you can’t see with the naked eye. Your gut may be able to handle them, but as these little critters mingle with contact lens chemistry, they can cause you big problems. Fortunately, this can be avoided if you comply with your eye care practitioner’s instructions. If it’s been a while since you sat through the talk, or if you’re not sure that you’re doing everything correctly, here’s a helpful cheat sheet with the important dos and don’ts of contact lens compliance.
… Wash your hands using plain, antibacterial soap without moisturiser or perfumes and rinse well before touching your eyes or contact lenses.
… Follow your eye care practitioner’s instructions for proper care of your contact lenses.
… Empty ALL of the solution in your lens case, rinse with fresh solution and allow the case to air dry while you’re wearing your lenses.
… Rub and rinse. Place the lens in the palm of your hand with solution, rub with your index finger, and rinse thoroughly before soaking overnight in a clean contact lens case filled with fresh solution.
… Replace your case every month.
… Remove lenses before swimming and either replace with fresh lenses or go through the entire care cycle.
… See your eye care practitioner for your regularly scheduled contact lens and eye exam.
… Apply your contact lenses before applying make-up and take them out before removing make-up.
… Examine contact lenses for cleanliness and signs of damage before putting them in your eyes.
… Store contact lenses in anything other than a contact lens case filled with fresh contact lens solution. Saline and rewetting drops are not contact lens disinfecting solution. Likewise, hotel glasses and paper cups should never double as lens cases.
… Re-use old solution or transfer solution from one container to another. This affects its sterility.
… Substitute lens care products, even for a store brand, without checking with your eye care practitioner first.
… Try to stretch out the life of your lenses. Always follow the recommended contact lens replacement schedule prescribed by your eye care practitioner.
… Attain contact lenses without a prescription or share contact lenses with a friend.
Contact lens compliance is relatively simple, so do yourself a favour and stick to the rules. You’ll be safer and more comfortable in the long run.
Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.