Do you remember when you first started wearing contact lenses and your optometrist taught you how to care for them?
Even if that was some time ago, and you feel confident that you are doing everything according to the book, it might be worth your while to briefly refresh your knowledge about how, why and what solutions should be used to keep your lenses in tip-top shape, and to make certain your eyes stay healthy.
Daily Disposable Lenses
Of course, for those of you who wear daily disposable contact lenses, you don't need to worry about cleaning and disinfecting them. Sometimes, you might need to rinse them, though, and you should always use saline, never fresh water (even if it has been boiled). Make certain that you use a preserved saline (such as Ciba Softwear Saline), or an aerosol saline.
If you use a frequent-replacement contact lens, or a conventional daily-wear lens, then you will be using either a multi-purpose solution, or one of the systems based on hydrogen peroxide (eg: AOSept Plus).
Multipurpose solutions – (such as Optifree PureMoist) are so-called because you need only the one bottle of solution to carry out the different steps of cleaning, rinsing, soaking and disinfecting.
After removing your contact lens, you should place it in the palm of your hand, squirt a little of the multi-purpose solution onto it and, using a finger, rub the lens in the solution for about 10 seconds each side. This cleans off the deposits that have built up on the contact lens surface during the wearing period, and the rinse you should follow with allows the lens to be relatively clean prior to soaking.
Most multipurpose solutions require that you soak the contact lenses for at least four hours (preferably overnight); this gives adequate time for all the germs to be killed, and the lenses to be disinfected. In the morning, you can just place the contact lenses straight onto your eyes, although some people prefer to give a quick squirt of solution beforehand.
Daily Cleaner – In some cases, your optometrist might get you to use a separate daily cleaner (such as Miraflow), and you would normally use three drops, cleaning each side for a minimum of 10 seconds once again.
Protein Remover – For patients who don't dispose of their contact lenses on a frequent basis, you may have been advised to use a protein remover (usually weekly or fortnightly). These are enzymatic cleaners that 'gobble up' the protein that accumulates on the contact lens surface.
If you experience any 'dryness' during contact lens wear, this may be related to the surface of the contact lens becoming dehydrated, particularly in air-conditioned environments, and with intensive computer usage. Ask your optometrist whether a rewetting eyedrop, used whilst the contact lenses are in place, is suitable for you. These come in two forms – unit-dose vials, which are preservative-free, and multi-dose bottles, if you need to use it more frequently.
However you clean and disinfect your contact lenses, if you think you may not be carrying out the procedure properly, or have forgotten, do ask your optometrist at Eyecare Plus Springvale. We'll be happy to answer any questions on the telephone, or you can get in touch via this website; there is no substitute for good advice from an expert on the subject.