Contact Lens Solutions: The Importance of Caring for Your Contact Lenses
A clean contact lens will give good visual acuity, fit and comfort. Monthly wear and biweekly contact lenses that are free from contamination give far less risk of ocular infection.
As soon as a contact lens is placed on the eye it begins to be coated with mucous and other constituents which make up natural tears. This coating is important for lubricity of the lens in the eye. However it also attracts bacteria and other micro-organisms that cause the formation of deposits such as proteins, lipids, mucin and calcium on the lens surface and within its structure. It is important that these are removed prior to daily contact lens storage so that overnight soaking can be more effective. This is why a rub and rinse step and overnight soak are both essential parts of any monthly or biweekly contact lens cleaning regime.
The functions of a contact lens solution are to :
- Keep the contact lens surface is clean and free of any deposits
- Disinfect the contact lens daily
- Prepare the contact lens for comfortable insertion into the eye
Most lens care products on the market are known as multipurpose solutions such as ReNu Multi Plus Solution
and All in One Light
by Sauflon. These multipurpose lens care products perform all the above functions within one solution. It is important that contact lenses remain in the solution for at least the minimum storage time recommended by the manufacturer. All lens solutions must be discarded prior to their expiry date. The date should be written in the side of the lens solution bottle. When opened the lens solution should be discarded once it has been open for the maximum recommended time. All lens solution tops must be replaced on the lens solution bottle once used, to prevent any possible eye contamination.
Apart from multipurpose lens solutions we also find hydrogen peroxide solutions on the market. Hydrogen peroxide lens solutions offer greater levels of efficacy with no preservative in the system. This makes hydro peroxide a great choice for patients who suffer from ocular allergies as well as those whose tears are very rich in mucous. It is important to stress that hydrogen peroxide lens solutions should never be placed into direct contact with the eye. It first requires neutralization which is carried out with a catalytic disc or a time release catalase enzyme tablet. Both of these would be supplied by the manufacturer as part of the eye care product. These neutralize the hydrogen peroxide by breaking it down into the harmless constituents of water and oxygen. During this process of neutralistion the contact lenses get disinfected. If the hydro peroxide is not fully neutralized, it becomes toxic to the eye (cornea), thus emphasizing the importance of not putting the hydrogen peroxide into direct contact with eye. The storage time of these lens care products are usually longer than with multipurpose lens solutions.
A few facts on Lens Care Products and Lens Solutions
- Do not change contact lens solutions without discussing this with your eye care practitioner first
- Discomfort with contact lens wear may be due to an intolerance to a lens care product rather than intolerance to the contact lens, it should therefore be assessed by an eye care professional before continued use.
- Cleaning and disinfecting contact lenses is important to kill micro-organisms which can be responsible for eye infections. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully for proper contact lens cleaning and disinfection.
- Use rewetting drops approved for re-wetting contact lenses as needed to alleviate symptoms of lens dryness. This is not an actual lens care step, but can be used for extra comfort. ReNu Re-wetting Drops are available in the We Love Lenses online shop.