The popularity of contact lenses among people of all ages has increased continuously for the last past years. No matter if you are willing to wear them for medical purposes, therapeutic or cosmetic reasons the point is to take good care of your contacts. As long as you respect the handling rules, cleaning schedule, and storing conditions the contact lenses are safe for you.
Common mistakes related to improper cleaning
A lot of medical studies made showed that dirty contacts as well as dirty lens cases are responsible for the development of a dangerous eye infection caused by Acanthamoeba. This parasite found in tap water, swimming pools, and dust causes the so called Acanthamoebic keratitis, a disease that affects the eye cornea determining itching sensations, swollen eyelids, eye pains, and abnormal light sensitivity.
The infection might occur when lens wearers choose to rinse their contacts or lens cases with tap water instead of the recommended cleaning solution. Also, it is advisable to remove your contacts before you go to swimming pools, hot tubs, or beach in order to avoid the contact with water.
Other common mistakes that lead to eye allergies and irritations are topping off the leftover solution from the case instead of discarding it, the transfer of the cleaning solution into travel-size bottles with negative impact on its sterility, and the accidental contact between the tip of the bottle and contaminated surfaces. Handling the contact lenses with dirty hands is a big no as well as moistening the dry lenses with water or saliva.
Types of cleaning solutions
The starting point in choosing the right cleaning solution for your contact lenses is the recommendation provided by your eye care practitioner. These solutions are made of different ingredients that are not compatible with all lens types.
One of the most popular options is the multipurpose solution that covers all the requirements for cleaning, disinfecting, rinsing, and storing the contacts. Its chemical formula has been improved to ensure better comfort and maintain lenses moisture. Saline solutions do not disinfect, they only are suitable for rinsing. This type of solution comes to complete the cleaning process after using a disinfection system.
Hydrogen peroxide solutions are marketed as “two-step” products (the hydrogen peroxide is removed by the help of a saline solution), and “one-step” items (the hydrogen peroxide is completely turned into pure water due to the presence of a neutralizer). There are also the tablets of enzymatic cleaner meant to remove the protein deposits spread on lenses.
Basics of proper lens care
Wash thoroughly your hands before handling the lenses. Apply the recommended cleaning solution, rub gently the lenses in your palm using the index finger, then rinse carefully according to the instructions. Stay far from tap water when rinsing your lenses. Clean the lens case and leave it to air-dry. Each time you store the contacts, throw away the used solution and replace it with a fresh one. Do not switch to a new brand of cleaning solution without consulting your eye doctor.