Cleaning Soft Contact Lenses
There have been many advances in the world of contact lenses over the past few years. Every few weeks it seems as if another new lens type has been developed and this is good news. And it's not just the lenses themselves that are being improved upon; cleaning solutions too are constantly being improved.
But no matter how good the lenses are, or how good the cleaning solution is, it is still up to YOU to make sure you are taking proper care of your lenses. Unless you wear disposable daily lenses, then without proper care, your lenses will start to feel uncomfortable. Without proper care, you put your eyes at risk of infection. So here's a guide to help you to get the most out of your lenses and keep them feeling comfortable and keep your eyes safe from infection.
Cleaning Solutions - One Can Be Enough
In the early days of contact lens care we needed multiple solutions: one for disinfecting, one for rinsing and one for moisturising. Now, though, thankfully, for most types of contact lens a multi-purpose disinfection solution is enough. It performs all three tasks, thus saving you time and money. It is, however, no use if you don't use it properly.
How to Clean Your Soft Contact Lenses with Multi-Purpose Solution
Here are some general guidelines on how to keep your lenses clean and protect your eyes from infection. However, you should always follow any particular guidelines given to you by your optician or any printed on your multi-purpose cleaning solution.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching your lenses or your eyes. Your hands carry lots of dirt and bacteria that you don't want to get into your eyes. When washing your hands try to avoid moisturizing soaps as they might contain oily substances that can damage contact lenses. Dry your hands with a towel or paper tissue that won't leave any bits of fluff on your hands.
- Carefully remove your lens from your eye and place it in the palm of one hand.
- Now squeeze a few drops of your multi-use cleaning solution onto your lens. Gently rub both sides of the lens. (Even if your solution says it is a no-rub solution, recent advice from the Institute for Eye Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, shows that rubbing will remove more bacteria and the bodies of micro-organisms than just soaking).
- Rinse the lens with some more multi-purpose solution and put it into a clean lens case that has already been filled with fresh solution. (Never use solution more than once.) Clean your lens cases regularly with solution and change them every three months.
- Repeat for the other lens.
- The soaking time varies from solution to solution, so check the soaking time instructions for your particular brand of multi-use solution. Some only require five to ten minutes of soaking, others require you to soak your lenses overnight or for several hours.
- Before re-inserting the lens, rinse again with fresh solution. (Be very careful at this stage! Do not mistake hydrogen peroxide disinfecting solutions with multi-purpose disinfecting solutions. Putting hydrogen peroxide disinfecting solutions into your eyes, unless you've neutralized it with a catalyst, can cause painful and lasting damage. Always check your labels!)
Finally, make sure your multi-purpose disinfecting solution is in date! Most have a shelf life of around three months from opening. Also check with your optician that you can use a multi-use solution with your particular type of contact lens.