When cared for properly, contact lenses can provide a safe and effective way to correct your vision. With more than 45 million Americans wearing contact lenses it is important to note that contact lenses can increase your chance of getting an eye infection. Make sure you are following your eye care provider’s instructions on how to properly wear, clean, disinfect, and store your lenses.
What is the difference between cleaning and disinfection?
Cleaning is the removal of deposits, debris and some germs from the surface of the contact lens.
Disinfection is the killing of germs present on the contact lens, some of which can cause serious eye infections.
Lens Care Systems & Solutions
Lens care systems and solutions are products you use to clean, disinfect, and store your contact lenses. Only your eye care provider can determine which lens care systems and solutions are best for you. Because proper contact lens care is important for keeping your eyes healthy and free from infection, talk to your eye care provider before using a new system.
How do I properly clean and disinfect my contact lenses?
Multipurpose solution is an all-in-one care system used to clean, rinse, disinfect, and store soft contact lenses. This solution is the most commonly used care system among soft contact lens wearers. Follow these steps for proper use of multipurpose solution:
Hydrogen Peroxide-based Systems
Hydrogen peroxide-based systems clean, disinfect, and store contact lenses. An eye care provider may prescribe this care system if you have an allergy to ingredients in multipurpose solution that causes redness or irritation of the eye. Systems that use this type of solution require the use of a special case that comes with the solution when you buy it. The special case reacts with the hydrogen peroxide, converting it to harmless saline solution over time. Never use another type of case with hydrogen peroxide-based solution, as the solution will not convert to saline and will cause burning, stinging, and redness upon inserting the contact lenses. Hydrogen peroxide solutions come with a red tip or cap to remind you to never put the solution directly in your eye.
Saline solution does not disinfect contact lenses. Only use saline for rinsing contact lenses after cleaning and disinfecting with another care system.
Daily cleaner is intended for cleaning your contact lenses and does not disinfect. The cleaner loosens and removes deposits and debris from the contact lens.
Enzymatic Protein Removers
Enzymatic protein removers clean off material that your eyes deposit on the contact lenses over time. Depending on the type of contact lenses you wear and the amount of deposits that build up on the lens surface, your eye care provider may recommend you use a product for removing the buildup. Ask your eye care provider before using this product.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Care Systems
Care systems for rigid gas permeable, or hard, contact lenses are different from care systems used with soft contact lenses. Hard contact lenses typically require several different solutions for wetting, cleaning, and disinfecting. If you wear hard contact lenses, talk to your eye care provider about which care system is best for you. Never use hard contact lens care products on soft contact lenses.