Enter the contact lens care aisle of most supermarkets and drugstores, and you’ll find a confusing array of products.
Though daunting, it’s essential to understand lens care: Not caring for your contact lenses properly can lead to a variety of eye infections, including some that cause blindness.
Actually, contact lens care is easier than ever. One-bottle care systems and disposable contact lenses mean that proper lens care involves much less time, expense and trouble than it did years ago.
Before we get started, understand that you should not switch care regimens without asking your eye doctor first. Some products are not compatible with each other, or with certain contact lenses. Using incompatible products can ruin your contact lenses or harm your eyes.
To make sense of all the bottles and boxes, it helps to know what steps are required to care for soft contacts.
It’s particularly important to follow guidelines for safe handling of soft contact lenses in light of recent outbreaks of serious fungal eye infections associated with a popular (now discontinued) brand of contact lens cleaning/disinfecting solution.
The Basics Of Soft Contact Lens Care: Clean, Rinse And Disinfect
- Wash your hands so that you don’t transfer dirt and germs to your eye. Try to avoid moisturizing soaps, as they are not good for contact lenses. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
- Remove one lens and clean it with the recommended solution. Cleaning removes eye-produced buildup, cosmetics and other debris that impairs lens comfort. The FDA recommends that you rub the lens in the palm of your hand with a few drops of solution, even if you are using a “no-rub” product.
- Rinse the lens again to remove the loosened debris, making sure to take as long as the package directs: Rinsing is an important step.
Place the lens in your clean lens case or lens holder and fill with a fresh solution; don’t “top off” your old solution. Disinfecting kills microorganisms on the lens. Disinfection time varies from product to product; check the package for details.
- Repeat steps two through four for your other lens.
Beyond Clean, Rinse And Disinfect
Saline solution is for rinsing and storing contact lenses, when you’re using a heat or UV disinfection system. You also may need it for use with enzymatic cleaning tablets or cleaning/disinfecting devices. Never use saline products for cleaning and disinfection.
Daily cleaner is for cleaning your contact lenses. You place a few drops in the palm of your hand and carefully rub the lens for as long as directed, usually around 20 seconds, making sure to clean both sides. Use other products for rinsing and disinfection.
Multipurpose solution is for cleaning, rinsing, disinfecting and storing your contact lenses. Clean your lenses as you would with daily cleaner, then rinse (as long as directed) and disinfect, all with the same solution; or rinse the lenses twice, then place them in the clean lens case with solution to clean and disinfect. When you are ready to wear the lenses, rinse them again. With multipurpose solutions, no other lens care products are necessary.
Hydrogen peroxide solution is for cleaning, disinfecting, rinsing and storing your contact lenses. With this product, you place your lenses in the provided basket and rinse them, then place the basket in its cup and fill the cup with solution to clean and disinfect your lenses.
Some lens holders for hydrogen peroxide systems have a built-in neutralizer (to convert the hydrogen peroxide to water, so it doesn’t sting your eyes), but with others you need to add a neutralizing tablet.
After the disinfection and neutralizing step is completed, you can remove the lenses from the case and put them on.
Never rinse your contacts with hydrogen peroxide solution and apply them directly to your eyes without completing the entire disinfecting and neutralizing step. Doing so can cause a painful chemical injury to the eye.
Brands of hydrogen peroxide care systems for soft contact lenses include Clear Care (Alcon) and PeroxiClear (Bausch + Lomb).
Cleaning/disinfecting devices will, as you would expect, both clean and disinfect your contact lenses. Depending on how the brand is designed, cleaning is accomplished with either ultrasonic waves or subsonic agitation, whereas disinfection occurs via multipurpose solution or ultraviolet light.
The instructions for the devices are all a little different. In general, you first rinse the lenses, using either saline or multipurpose solution as directed. One brand requires rubbing with the saline, but most are no-rub.
Then, put your contact lenses in the device and fill it with the same type of solution as for the rinse. Place the lid on the device and plug it in to clean and disinfect your lenses.
We Care For Your Eye Health At Cynard Eye ClinicCynard Eye Clinic
Source: All About Vision