The type of contact lenses you wear determines the care required. Extended-wear lenses need minimal care; while conventional lenses may require a little more attention. When in doubt, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
The importance of caring for your contacts
The eye is a sensitive area that can become infected or sensitive if you do not care of your contacts properly. Wearing contacts means you should take time to establish a proper cleaning and storage process if you want to maintain good eye health.
Good hygiene starts in the hands
Good contact lens hygiene begins in the hands. Always clean your hands with soap and dry them off with a lint-free towel before handling your contact lenses. Keep your nails clean and trimmed as your fingertips will come into contact with your lenses.
Cleaning your contacts
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the right contact lens cleaning routine. The contact lens manufacturer will offer specific instructions, and your lens solution will also provide step-by-step instructions for the cleaning procedure.
Typically you should clean your hands first and then place a few drops of saline solution on your lens before rubbing between your fingers. Rinse with more solution and store.
Choosing a contact solution
There are many contact lens varieties available on the market. There are the daily disposable types, the extended wear types, and the less common rigid gas permeable lenses.
Some solutions can be used on any type of contact; others are only suitable for certain types of contact lenses. Always check that you are using a suitable solution for your contact lenses. If you have any doubts, ask your eye-care professional for a recommendation or follow their instructions for choosing the right solution.
Discard solution and cases after use
Avoid transferring used solution to another case or ‘topping up’ the case with solution after each use. This can be tempting when you are travelling, but can breed infections. Instead of reusing your solution, discard and replace every single time. When filling the case with lens solution, make sure the tip of the container does not come into contact with the lens case.
Additionally, keep an eye on the use-by-date of your contact lens solution. Discard the bottle before the use-by-date. You should also replace contact cases at least once every three months (more often if you prefer). If you wear disposable lenses, discard them as often as recommended.
Use sterile solutions to rinse and store
Always use a sterile solution to rinse or moisten your contacts and eyes. Rather than using tap water or bottled water or even saliva (as none of these are sterile), carry a small bottle of sterile contact solution or saline drops in sealed packs. Once disinfected, your contact lenses should be completely immersed in the solution for storage.
To keep it safe, you can also use a sterile solution to rinse out your contact lens case each time you remove your contacts from the case and let them air dry afterwards.