How to clean contact lenses

Contact lenses are a convenient way to correct your vision without having to wear glasses. When you wear contact lenses, it’s easy to forget that they’re medical devices that must be treated with care. It’s important that you clean your lenses after each wear, as well as any time they fall out or become dirty. Whether you’re wearing disposable or rigid contacts, you’ll need to remove, rub, and store your contacts properly, as well as follow precautions to keep them clean.

Removing Contact Lenses

1. Wash and dry your hands using a mild soap.

Your hands can introduce bacteria and germs to your lenses, which can cause an infection. Additionally, lotions and substances on your hands can irritate your eyes. Always cleanse your hands in warm water using soap.

2. Open one side of your contact lens case.

It’s best to only open one side of your case at a time. This limits your risk of mixing up your contacts.

Make a habit of taking out your lenses in the same order each night.

If you are using an upright case for rigid contacts, unscrew the top and remove the lens holder. Open one side of the lens holder at a time.

3. Remove one contact lens from your eye with your finger pad.

Gently touch the lens and drag it down to the bottom of your eye. Then, pull the lens away from your eye.

Some people who wear rigid contacts use a suction cup to remove them. If you use this method, make sure your suction cup is positioned directly over your contact. After each use, rinse your suction cup with contact lens solution.

4. Check the lens for any damage.

Since lenses are soft, it’s easy for them to get torn, especially around the edges. Not only will this make your lenses feel uncomfortable, it also allows bacteria to collect in the damaged spot. During your inspection, look for visible dirty spots, as well.

For example, you might see a mascara streak on your contact. This is a visible dirty spot that can likely be cleaned away with extra rubbing. On the other hand, a tiny tear on the edge is damage that can’t be corrected.

If your contact is torn or otherwise damaged, throw it away.

Rubbing Your Contact Lenses Clean

1. Place your contact lens in the palm of your hand.

Gently place it in your hand. The part of the lens that touches your eye should be face up.

Your lens should look like a bowl.

2. Spray contact solution on the lens.

Make sure the solution gets on both sides of the lens. Allow some of the solution to drain away before you continue cleaning the lens.

If you’re wearing rigid contact lenses, make sure you purchase contact solution specifically formulated for these lenses. Read the label thoroughly. Ask your doctor which solution is best for you.

Always use contact solution to clean your lenses. Never, ever use water or saliva to clean your lenses. This can cause a serious infection.

Do not attempt to clean daily contacts, which are only meant to be worn once. You should throw these away, as wearing them more than once increases your risk of infection.

3. Use the pad of your finger to gently rub your contact lens.

Lightly move the lens back and forth on your palm. There should be contact solution both on your hand and on the lens.

Some solutions are labeled as “no-rub” solutions. However, rubbing always gets your lenses cleaner, so it’s best to do it regardless of which solution brand you use.

If your lens is very dirty, you might flip it over and rub both sides.

4. Rinse the lens once more before putting it in your case.

Spray the lens with contact solution to remove any remaining grime. Make sure the solution treats both sides of the lens.

If you see any visible dirt or grime left on the lens, repeat these steps to try to clean the lens. If you cannot get the lens clean, discard it.

You can follow the same steps to clean your lens after it falls out or feels dirty, as long as you only use saline solution. Instead of putting your lens away, put it back in your eye.

Storing Your Lenses

1. Place the lens in the appropriate side of your contact lens case.

It’s important to keep your lenses separate. It’s likely that your prescription differs in each eye. Even if they’re the same, however, mixing up your lenses could lead to an infection.

2. Fill the case with fresh contact solution.

Make sure the lens is fully covered. Your case should be filled to just below the rim on each side.

Again, only use contact solution on your contacts. Never use plain water!

3. Soak your lenses overnight if you’re wearing rigid contact lenses.

Rigid contact lenses need more soaking time between uses than disposable lenses. It’s important that you leave them in the case overnight, or at least 6 hours. This gives the solution time to disinfect your lenses.

Keep in mind that some contact solutions made for rigid contacts can irritate your eye if they don’t sit out for the correct amount of time. That’s because it’s a disinfecting solution rather than a saline solution. It will neutralize over the required 6 hours.

Keeping Your Lenses Clean

1. Change your lenses out as recommended by your doctor.

Disposable lenses are only meant to be worn for so long, whether it’s a day, week, two weeks, or a month. Always follow your doctor’s advice on how often to switch out your contact lenses.

The label on your box should also say how often the lenses must be changed.

Disposable lenses can rarely be worn for longer than 1 month.

If you wear rigid contacts, ask your doctor when you should purchase another pair. With proper cleaning, rigid contacts can last a year or longer.

2. Refill your contact lens case with fresh solution each time.

Do not simply top off the lens case. Reusing solution increases your risk of developing an infection. Old solution does not properly clean your lens and can even become dirty.

Dump out the solution in your case after you put your contacts on each day. Do not save it for later.

3. Sterilize your case every day using contact solution.

Unscrew each of the case lids and set them aside. Spray the solution over your case on both sides. Then, rinse the lids. Allow each piece to air dry.

Before letting your case dry, pour out all of the rinsing solution from the lens storage area. You might also let it dry upside down for a few minutes to completely drain away the solution.

4. Switch to a new case every 3 months, or as recommended.

Your contact lens case can accumulate bacteria and germs. This can contaminate your lenses. Be sure to change it out on schedule to keep your lenses clean.

As an alternative to getting a new case, you can sterilize your case by boiling it at least once every 3 months.

5. Avoid exposing your contacts to water.

Wearing your contact lenses while swimming, showering, or bathing can allow water to come in contact with your lenses. Although your lenses might not seem “dirty,” water can contaminate your lenses and possibly cause an infection. It’s best to remove your lenses before entering water.

Wear your glasses while you’re in a body of water.

Wear goggles to protect your eyes while swimming. Make sure they don’t leak so your lenses aren’t compromised.

References… ( How to Clean Contact Lenses)

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