It seems logical that if water is safe enough to drink by the liter, it should be clean enough to store a contact lens in. But it’s not, so don’t do it! When you’re dealing with medical technology, science sometimes trumps common sense. Such is the case with contact lens hygiene.
There are millions of little microbes in seemingly clean places that you can’t see with the naked eye. Your gut may be able to handle them, but as these little critters mingle with contact lens chemistry, they can cause you big problems. Fortunately, this is avoidable if you comply with your eye doctor’s instructions. If it’s been a while since you sat through the speech, or if you’re not sure that you’re on the straight and narrow, here’s a helpful cheat sheet with the important do’s and don’ts of contact lens compliance.
… Wash your hands before touching your eyes or contact lenses.
… Follow your doctor’s instructions for proper care of your lenses.
… Empty ALL of the solution in your lens case, rinse with fresh solution and allow the case to air dry while you’re wearing your lenses.
… Rub and rinse. Place the lens in the palm of your hand with solution, rub with your index finger, and rinse thoroughly before soaking overnight in a clean contact lens case filled with fresh solution.
… Replace your case every 3 months.
… Remove lenses before swimming and either replace with fresh lenses or go through the entire care cycle
… See your eye doctor for your regularly scheduled contact lens and eye exam.
… Insert your lenses before applying makeup and take them out before removing make-up.
… Examine lenses for cleanliness and signs of damage before putting them in your eyes.
… Store contact lenses in anything other than a contact lens case filled with fresh contact lens solution. Saline and rewetting drops are not contact lens disinfecting solution. Likewise, hotel glasses and paper cups should never double as lens cases.
… Re-use old solution or transfer solution from one container to another. This affects its sterility.
… Substitute lens care products, even for a store brand, without checking with your doctor first.
… Try to stretch out the life of your lenses. Always follow the recommended contact lens replacement schedule prescribed by your eye doctor.
… Attain lenses without a prescription or share lenses with a friend.
Contact lens compliance is relatively simple, so do yourself a favor and stick to the rules. You’ll be safer and more comfortable in the long run.
If you don’t want to have to think about contact lens care compliance, consider daily disposables like MyDay® or clariti® for example. There’s no need for storage containers or solution. All you have to remember is to put in a fresh pair each day.