McFarland Clinic

Contact Lens Care for Healthy Eyes

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November 3, 2015

Taking proper care of your contact lenses lowers your chance of eye infections and allows you to enjoy the benefits of wearing contact lenses. Your habits are essential to healthy eyes. 

Mary Osborne, McFarland Clinic Certified Contact Lens Technician, shares proper care instructions for healthy contact lenses and eyes.

What are some healthy habits people should follow when inserting or removing contacts?

  • Always wash your hands before working with contacts, using a soap that does not contain lotion.
  • Always use fresh solution and never just top off your solution. Your fingers have bacteria and residue on them that you would not want in your solution. Your contact is like a sponge and can absorb the bacteria and the contact lens case can be a source of microbial contamination 
  • Never put the contacts in your mouth, saliva is not sterile. 

Is it ok to use water to rinse contact lenses?

Never use water to rinse your contact lenses. Water contains bacteria, chlorine, minerals and metal particles which can damage both the lenses and the eyes. Do not wear your contact lens while swimming.

What are the correct steps for cleaning contact lenses?

  • Always follow manufacturers directions, and soak your lenses overnight. 
  • Make sure the tip of the solution bottle does not come into contact with any surface and keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use 
  • Make sure you are using a disinfecting solution and not just sterile saline .

Should you wash your contact storage case?

Contact lens storage cases can be a source of contamination and infection so it is very important to keep your contact lens case clean. After inserting your contact lenses, rinse case and let air dry. Replace your contact lens case every one to three months.

Is it ok to sleep in contact lenses?

The only time that is ok to sleep in your lenses is if your eye care provider has approved your brand for sleeping in. If you have the kind that is approved by the FDA to sleep in, we still recommend that you take them out at least once a week overnight to let your eyes get a break and let oxygen get to your corneas.  

How important is it to follow your eye doctor’s recommendations on contact lens replacement?

Following your eye doctor’s recommendations on contact lens replacement is very important in preventing eye infections. Daily wear results in protein build up on your contact lenses making the lens dirty. The longer lenses are used, the greater the risk of protein buildup and infections to the cornea, which can permanently damage eye tissue.

What are signs of an eye infection?

Signs of eye infections include redness, irritation and eye discharge (matter) . If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, remove contact lens immediately and call your eye care provider. Discontinue wearing your contact lenses until you see an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Treatment for eye infections is based on the severity of the infection.

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