Soft contact lenses can be pretty easy to use and care for, so much so that people forget they’re a medical device! Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind to ensure your contact lens experience is the best it can be. Material technology is so much better than it was even 10 years ago, and regardless of your prescription, you should be comfortable in your lenses.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling your lenses. Dry your hands with a lint free towel.
- To avoid getting your lenses mixed up, always apply and remove in the same order (i.e. right then left).
- Only use eye drops or solutions specifically designed for contact lenses. Preservatives will collect in the lens causing eye irritation at best, or a chemical burn at worse.
- Never use tap water to clean your lenses (acanthamoeba is a waterborne infection that causes blindness)
- Don’t use saliva to try to clean or wet your lenses (although safer than tap water, bottled water is probably better in a pinch as it doesn’t contain microbes.)
- Do not sleep in your lenses unless you have been prescribed a specific type of lens designed for it; not only are they less comfortable with the wrong material, but your eye doesn’t get enough oxygen.
- Keep all solution bottles tightly capped when you are not using them, you don’t want microbes growing in there.
- Don’t let the tip (cleaning solutions or eye drop bottles) contact any surface, including your fingers, eyes, lenses, or case.
- Never use expired solutions, as it won’t disinfect as well, or worse is a petri dish just waiting for a material to grow on… i.e. your contacts
- Never reuse or save your multipurpose solution in your case for another use. After inserting your lenses, empty your case, rinse it with warm water, and let it air dry upside down.
- Just like your toothbrush, optometrists recommend that you replace your lens case about every 3 months. (Clear Care cases especially need this as they only work correctly for about 90 uses.)
Inserting and Removing Contact Lenses
There are dozens of great videos about how to put contacts in and take them out. I included my favorite here.
Soft Lens Multipurpose Solutions: Name brand is superior to store brand
We recommend that you use a name brand solution not because it costs more or because it’s made by the same company as your contact lenses, it’s simpler than that. In fact, it doesn’t much matter which multipurpose solution you choose as long as it’s not a store brand. Here’s why: you never know what you’re getting with a store brand.
Branded products will be the same thing every time you purchase it. If you get Clear Care, Renu, OptiFree or Biotrue, it will have the same ingredients every time; if the company changes something, it will have a new name. Think Clear Care original vs. Clear Care with HydraGlyde, all they added with the HydraGlyde to the existing solution.
With the store brands like Wal-Mart’s Equate or Target’s Up&Up, they purchase patents for contact lens solutions that are original manufacture no longer uses and repackage it as their store brand. This is not a bad idea, but the trouble comes when they decide to change it; they have no obligation to tell you it’s not the same stuff you bought 6 months ago.
I run into issues with my patients who, seemingly out of the blue, are having discomfort with this contacts, even though they didn’t change anything. I find a surprising number of them use a store brand. After switching them to an equivalent branded solution, their discomfort improves. If you think this could be use, remember to start with a fresh pair of contacts when you switch solutions as soft contact lenses absorb preservatives or other molecules that might be causing the irritation. If you’re still having discomfort, try switching to a hydrogen peroxide solution like PeroxiClear or Clear Care, as they don’t use preservatives at all, another leading cause of lens irritation.
Bottom line with your contacts
If changing solution still doesn’t help, text or call to make an appointment with us . We’ll figure out how to make you more comfortable, as sometimes it’s the start of an infection, or you may need a different lens material as tear chemistry changes as we age. Hope you found these contact lens tips helpful!
Here is a quick video reviewing how to use different types of contact lens solution.
Our skilled team can help you see more clearly for life! Call or Text us 816-524-8900 or schedule your eye exam online today.
Posted June 2021 by Laura Nennig, OD; she specializes in contact lens fittings, with advanced training with scleral lenses.