Deposits, allergens, and infectious organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc., can build up on the surface of all contact lenses. For this reason, it is very important to keep them clean and disinfected.
There are three steps in contact lens care–follow the care regimen prescribed for your lenses:
1. Cleaning removes dirt, mucous, and other debris that gets on the lenses during wear.
2. Disinfecting kills bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other germs on the lenses. Disinfecting is essential to prevent serious eye infections. Never use saline solely as a care system as it has no disinfection properties!
3. Rinsing removes the other solutions from the lenses and prepares the lenses for wear.
The best way to properly care for your lenses is to develop a care routine, then stick to that routine!
- Follow the directions outlined by your eye doctor. Oftentimes instructions are also listed on the packaging or the package insert for the contact lens solutions prescribed for you.
- Multi-purpose solutions can be used for more than one step in contact lens care. Read the label to see which functions the solutions can be used for.
- Only use solutions recommended by your eye doctor, and check with your eye doctor if you want to switch brands as there can be compatibility issues.
- When you remove your lenses, they must be cleaned, rinsed, and disinfected before they are worn again.
- Lenses that have been stored for more than 12 hours may need to be cleaned, disinfected, and rinsed again.
- Make sure solution containers are kept closed tightly, stored upright, and kept in a clean, dry, cool place when you are not using them. Keep your case clean and replace it every 2-3 months to prevent bacterial growth.
- Don’t touch container bottle tips to any surface to prevent them from becoming contaminated.
- Throw away expired solutions. (Look on the bottle for the expiration date!)
- Use new solution in your contact lens case every day.
- Do not swim while wearing contact lenses (secondary to risk for Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare but potentially devastating infection of the cornea).
- Only use approved rewetting drops for lubricating or wetting your lenses. Never place the lenses in your mouth.
- Do not use tap water to rinse soft contact lenses (another potential cause of Acanthamoeba keratitis).
Be careful with makeup, lotions, creams and sprays–consider putting on lenses before makeup and remove them before removing makeup. Also, water-based makeup is less likely to damage lenses than oil-based makeup.
Here’s what you need to watch for: Redness, blurriness, light sensitivity. Remove your lenses if you are experiencing any of these 3 things. If your eyes have not returned to normal after 24 hours, please contact our office. If you have any change in vision, discomfort, or irritation, immediately remove your lenses. If there is no improvement within a couple of hours, please contact our office.