The Importance of Proper Contact Lens Storage and Care
Contact lenses have become a popular choice for vision correction for millions of individuals worldwide. Whether you wear daily disposables or extended-wear lenses, correct contact lens storage and maintenance are critical for keeping your eyes healthy and your lenses in good condition. In this thorough guide, we'll go over the importance of proper storage practices, go over various parts of contact lens maintenance, and provide you with the knowledge you need to protect your eye health.
How to Store Contacts
Before we go into the specifics of contact lens preservation, let's first understand why it's crucial to do so correctly. We'll also go through the various types of contact lens storage methods available.
Most contact lens wearers use this flexible, all-in-one solution to clean, rinse, disinfect, and store their lenses. Multipurpose solutions can also be used to clean contact lens cases. Simply wipe and rinse an empty contact lens case with the solution before placing it on a clean tissue to dry.
Storage Procedures Using a Multipurpose Solution
- Remove one contact lens at a time and rub it with the solution in the palm of your hand.
- Place the first contact lens into the container and then the second lens.
- To keep the lenses overnight, refill your case with a new multipurpose solution.
- Rinse the lenses with the solution and insert them in the morning.
Risks of Using Tap Water
Using tap water for contact lens care poses a significant risk of eye infections and vision loss, primarily due to the presence of micro-organisms like Acanthamoeba. These single-celled organisms can infect the cornea, where contact lenses sit. Acanthamoeba is commonly found in natural bodies of water like lakes and oceans, making tap water unsuitable for lens care. Additionally, avoid wearing your lenses in the shower, as the hot water jets may cause lenses to fall out and risk contamination.
Why Proper Contact Lens Storage Is Important？
Proper contact lens storage and care are crucial for maintaining good eye health. But problems can arise when contact lens wearers take shortcuts, like:
1. Bacterial Contamination: Topping off the lens solution instead of replacing it can create an environment conducive to bacterial growth. This contamination can result in eye irritation, allergic reactions, and even infections.
2. Lens Case Maintenance: Failing to clean or replace your contact lens case regularly can also foster bacterial growth. A dirty case increases the risk of infection and other complications.
3. Extended Wear Risks: Prolonged use of contact lenses, insufficient tear exchange beneath the lens, and exposure to certain environmental factors can heighten the risk of eye infections when wearing contacts.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is essential to remove your contact lenses and promptly seek advice from your eye doctor, as these symptoms may indicate an infection:
- Eye Pain
- Blurry Vision
- Sensitivity to Light
- Eye Discharge
- Redness in the Eyes
How to Store Contact Lenses Safely？
To store your contact lenses safely and maintain your eye health, follow these steps:
1. Wear your contact lenses for 14-16 hours a day, removing them a few hours before bedtime to let your eyes breathe.
2. Before taking out your lenses at night, put your contact lenses in the case with solution and soak them overnight. This helps rehydrate them and removes impurities.
3. Regularly clean your contacts and the lens case to ensure longevity and comfort. Here's how:
a. Wash your hands with soap and water before handling your lenses.
b. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel to prevent fiber transfer.
c. Fill the clean lens case with fresh contact lens solution, avoiding expired solutions and topping up half-full containers.
d. Remove one lens at a time, place it in your palm, add a few drops of solution, and gently rub the lens with your fingertip to remove deposits.
e. Put the lens in a clean contact lens container and repeat the process with the other lens.
f. Keep the lenses in the solution for the manufacturer's recommended time (typically at least 6 hours or overnight).
4. If you wear contacts occasionally, you can store them for up to one month. Be mindful of the expiration date on your lens solution, and ensure it's tightly closed when storing your lenses.
Useful Tips for Contact Lens Care:
By following these steps, you can protect your vision and maintain the comfort and longevity of your contact lenses.
1. Hand Hygiene: Always wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling your contact lenses, whether you're putting them in or taking them out.
2. Avoid Water: Never use water, whether it's tap water or distilled bottled water, to clean your lenses. Stick to using a recommended contact lens cleaning solution.
3. Fresh Solutions: Do not reuse or top up old solutions during the cleaning process. Each step of cleaning should involve fresh, unused solutions.
4. Clean Your Case: After each use, rinse your contact lens case with the cleaning solution and let it air dry to prevent contamination.
5. Secure Cap: Ensure that the cap on your contact lens solution bottle is tightly closed when not in use to maintain its sterility.
6. Traveling Caution: When traveling, avoid transferring your contact lens solution into smaller bottles, as this can compromise the sterility of the solution. Stick to the original packaging for your solution.
These tips will help you maintain the hygiene and safety of your contact lenses, ensuring your eyes stay healthy while using them.
It's important to emphasize that using a proper contact lens case and contact lens solution is always the best and safest way to store your contact lenses when you're not wearing them. However, in situations where you don't have a case and need to temporarily store your contact lenses, you can try the following makeshift solution as a last resort. Keep in mind that this should only be used as a temporary measure, and it's crucial to thoroughly clean and disinfect your lenses before putting them back in your eyes:
1. Prepare a sealable container and ensure it's clean by washing it and the lid thoroughly with warm soapy water to sanitize them.
2. Dry both the container and lid completely with a clean towel to eliminate any residual moisture.
3. Pour enough contact lens solution into the container to submerge your lenses fully.
4. With clean hands, carefully remove your lenses and place them into the container, ensuring they are completely immersed in the solution.
5. Seal the container with the lid and allow the lenses to soak until the next day.
Important: If you lack contact lens solution, refrain from soaking the lenses in tap water.