Contact lenses, whether rigid or soft, need care and cleaning in order to perform as they are supposed to and to keep the eye healthy. Without this cleaning, proteins and eye fluids would build up on the lenses, increasing the risk of eye infections from dirt and deposits on the lenses. Furthermore, cleaning contact lenses and storing them properly between use lengthens the amount of time they can be worn, and can thus reduce expenses.
Cleaning contact lenses
Contact lenses should be cleaned at frequent intervals to ensure that they stay fresh and safe, and to lessen the chances of irritation or even infection. They should be cleaned carefully and as frequently as the manufacturer recommends, and at even shorter intervals if they become perceptibly dirty or if your eyes start to feel itchy, uncomfortable, or irritated.
Before cleaning contact lenses, you should thoroughly wash your hands, remembering to ensure that no soap or any other chemicals or liquid that might remain on the skin and transfer onto the contact lens surface is left on your hands. The lenses should then be cleaned with contact lens solution, rinsed thoroughly and put into a clean lens case with fresh solution in it.
Beyond this basic washing, there are a number of other procedures that can be used to keep contact lenses clean and safe to use. Multipurpose solutions are used for every aspect of contact lens cleaning and storage, cutting down on the number of products that must be bought and used. Eye drops can also be placed into the eye to prevent dryness which might affect the cleanliness of the lenses.
Removing protein from contact lenses is also a vital cleaning activity. Protein is harder to remove than general dirt and eye secretions, and requires a special solution to be removed completely. Daily protein remover is used each day, as its name suggests, with a drop or two added to multipurpose solution in the wells of your lens case, after which the lenses should be disinfected as normal. Enzymatic cleaner is stronger and comes in a tablet form; it is typically used weekly. The usual cleaning time is 15 minutes, and the cleaner is usually followed up with a disinfectant.
The one exception to the need for cleaning contacts is with disposable contact lenses, which are typically always soft contacts. These lenses are thrown out after a day, a week, or a month, depending on the type and your wear schedule. Another major reason for the use of disposable contacts is to avoid any allergies to cleaning fluids, which can result in a serious eye irritation.
Get into a routine
Whatever solution and or method you use to clean your contact lenses, it is important to get into a routine of cleaning them on a daily basis. It may seem a bit of a chore, but your eyes are sensitive and the build up of proteins or other substances may not be visible to the naked eye. There are a large number of products on the market, so you need to check with your eye care professional which is the recommended product for the type of lens you use. If cleaning lenses is too much trouble, then switch to disposable contact lenses.