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How to take care of contact lenses

Caring for contact lenses is quick and easy as well as extremely important for eye health. By properly cleaning your contacts and lens case, your contacts will be comfortable and your risk of eye irritation and infection will be greatly reduced.

Establish a contact lens care routine to ensure you get the most out of your lenses and keep your eyes happy. To help you get started, check out the basics of how to take care of your contact lenses below!

Cleaning your contact lenses

Holding contact lens

The method in which you clean your lenses depends on the type of lens you have and the solution you use. Daily lenses are discarded at the end of the day so no contact lens solution is needed to clean and disinfect them. Extended-wear contact lenses can be worn overnight and don’t need to be cleaned as frequently as weekly contact lenses and monthly contacts, which are removed and cleaned every night.

It's always best to consult your eye care professional and the lens manufacturer’s recommendations to understand the proper way to clean your specific contacts.

How to clean your contact lenses

  1. Wash and dry your hands before removing contact lenses.
  2. Fill your contact lens case with fresh solution.
  3. Remove and place the first contact lens in the palm of your hand. Cover it with a few drops of solution and gently rub it back and forth to clean the surface.
  4. Rinse the lens with more solution and place it in the contact lens case for storage.
  5. Repeat with the other eye.

Types of contact lens solutions

It seems there are endless amounts of contact lens solutions to choose from. There are a few basic types that can be used for most soft contact lenses.

  • Multi-purpose solution: multi-purpose solution is an all-in-one solution that cleans, disinfects and rinses contact lenses.
  • Saline solution: saline solution is used to rinse contact lenses before inserting them into your eyes. It doesn’t contain cleaning or disinfecting agents and shouldn’t be used in place of a disinfecting solution.
  • Hydrogen peroxide solution: hydrogen peroxide solution is a strong cleaning and disinfecting solution usually recommended for sensitive eyes. It must be neutralised before it comes in contact with the eyes and requires a longer soaking process than multi-purpose solutions. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using hydrogen peroxide solution.

Cleaning contact lens cases

Contact lens case

Cleaning contact lens cases is just as important as keeping your lenses clean. Dirt and bacteria can build up both on the outside and inside of the case so it's important to clean your case every day.

How to clean contact lens cases

  1. Wash and dry your hands before cleaning the contact lens case.
  2. Empty any used solution (of course, first be sure your contacts are not in the case).
  3. Rinse the inside and outside with contact lens solution whilst scrubbing it with a clean finger.
  4. Set the contact lens case facedown on a clean tissue so it can air dry.

Dos and don’ts of taking care of contact lenses

Contact and lens solution

Dos

  • Do follow a routine
  • Do wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses
  • Do use fresh contact solution every time you remove your contact lenses
  • Do remove contact lenses before bathing or swimming
  • Do follow your contact lens manufacturer and eye care professional’s recommendations

Don’ts

  • Don’t wear contact lenses lenses past their recommended wearing period
  • Don’t use contact solution beyond its expiration date
  • Don’t use water or saliva to clean lenses or lens cases
  • Don’t wear contact lenses if your eyes become irritated, painful or vision becomes blurred
  • Don’t store contact lenses is extreme heat or cold

Other FAQs about contact lens care

How often should I change the solution in my contact lens case?

Fresh contact lens solution should be used every day. Never “top off” or reuse contact lens solution.

Do I have to clean contact lenses every day?

Yes, contact lenses should be cleaned every night after taking them out to remove protein deposits. Talk to your eye care professional about daily disposables or other options if you'd like to skip the cleaning routine.

Is it necessary to rub lenses when cleaning?

Yes, gently rubbing a lens between your fingers or in the palm of your hand with contact solution helps loosen and release protein deposits.

Can I use water to clean and store my contact lenses?

No! Water contains harmful bacteria and other microorganisms that can be extremely harmful to your eye health. Additionally, water isn’t designed with special lubricants and disinfecting ingredients that properly protect your eyes and lenses.

Can I use soap and water to clean my contact lens case?

No, only use contact lens solution to rinse and wash your case. If necessary, you can use new toothbrush to scrub the case instead of using your finger.

How long can I store my contacts in solution? 

Some multi-purpose solutions allow contacts to be stored in a case for 24 hours and some up to 30 days. Hydrogen peroxide solutions have stricter guidelines that are determined by the time it takes for the solution to neutralise (generally overnight). Always consult the manufacturer's guidelines for storage times. 

How often should I replace my contact lens case?

It’s recommended that contact lens cases be replaced once every three months. Check out this video if you need inspiration on how to reuse your old lens case!