Hygiene is one of the most important factors in preventing infections and other problems that can affect not only the health of your eyes but also your long-term vision.
Here are some dos and don'ts for cleaning your contact lenses—and the reasoning behind them.
How to clean contacts
Do wash your hands with soap and water before touching your contact lenses.
Use antibacterial soap where possible, and dry your hands with a lint-free towel. Don't use oil or lotion-based soaps, which can cloud or soil your lenses.
Do use fresh, contact lens cleaning solution every time.
Don't use tap or sterile water, saliva, saline solution or rewetting drops. None of these serve to disinfect and properly clean your contact lenses.
Do rub your contact lenses with your fingers, and rinse them with fresh cleaning solution afterward.
Studies have shown that "rub and rinse" is the best way of cleaning contact lenses, even with “no-rub” contact lens cleaning solutions. Don't let fingernails touch your lenses. Nails aren't only sharp; they're a great haven for germs and dirt.
Do rinse your contact lens case with fresh solution, and leave it overturned and open to dry.
Don't clean your case with water, which can contain impurities and microorganisms. Also, don't leave your case near the toilet or in humid places, which allow mildew and germs to build up.
Other ways to keep contacts clean
- Don't transfer contact lens cleaning solutions into smaller containers for travel or storage, which can compromise the sterility of your solution.
- Keep your solution bottle tightly capped, and avoid contact with surfaces or objects while in use.
- Replace your contact lens case at least every three months.
- Never wear your contact lenses more than 30 days after first opening.
- Avoid air smoke and other pollutants, which can enter your eyes and cause irritation and infection.
Always follow instructions
The instructions that accompany your contact lenses, your contact lens case and your contact lens cleaning solution are, along with your eye doctor's directions, designed to provide the best care and performance for your particular wearing and cleaning context.
Finally, your eye doctor is your ally in keeping your eyes and vision at their peak. Chat with him or her annually to make sure your contact lenses and care system are still appropriate for your eyes and lifestyle.