Our best tips for proper contact lens hygiene

Contact lenses come with many advantages, from their low prices to their comfort and convenience. But they also come with some responsibility. For safe, healthy wearing, it’s important to know and follow these rules for lens care and handling. We’ve prepared a short list with some of the most common (and important) contact lens hygiene tips to live by.

Follow these tips, and you’ll avoid discomfort or more serious complications, and start each lens-wearing day with a smile.

What you SHOULD DO while wearing contact lenses

Dos for contact lens care

Daily reminders

  • Thoroughly clean and dry your hands.

Before you begin handling your lenses, thoroughly wash and dry your hands. Rinse your hands completely, and avoid using cream soaps. When drying your hands, avoid paper towels that can leave fibre residue on your hands. Also, be careful of having long nails.

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your contacts with fresh lens solution.
Always use new solution from a sterile bottle. Discard yesterday’s solution from your case so you’ll remember to use fresh solution the next time you remove your lenses. Discontinue use of solution from a bottle 3 months after opening.
  • Clean your lens case and replace it at least every three months.
Don’t forget to take care of your lens case as well. Wash it regularly both inside and out to get rid of bacteria and other contaminant particles. Remember to replace your lens case at least every three months.

Opticians’ advice

  • Visit your eye doctor at least once per year.

Even if you don’t notice any change in your vision, regular visits with your optometrists are a good idea. Your eye doctor can see and diagnose potential problems you may not even notice. They can also ensure proper contact lens fittings.

  • Follow the advice of your eye doctor.
Always follow your optometrist’s prescriptions and advice. Your eye doctor is a specialist, who can thoroughly examine the inner workings of your eye and can make recommendations based on your medical history and lifestyle.
  • Take glasses with you for unexpected situations.

Always be prepared! Whether you’re travelling, or just going to and from the office, it’s a good idea to have glasses with you in case you have a contact lens malfunction, or your eyes just need a rest. You never know when you may need them.

Lifestyle considerations

  • Wear sunglasses or other protective glasses.
Many contacts have UV filters, but this filter doesn’t cover the entire eyeball. Sunglasses provide added protection by covering your whole eye. If you’re spending time in a dusty environment, always wear protective glasses to avoid irritation.
  • Avoid contact with aerosol sprays.

If you’re wearing contact lenses, avoid using aerosol sprays like hairspray, deodorant, and perfumes. Sprays contain invisible particles that can get into your eyes and cause unwanted complications.

  • Be perfectly prepared for travelling – lens case, solution, tweezers, mirror, etc.
Travelling with your contact lenses? Be prepared! Don’t forget your lens case, travel solution, mirror and other tools, if you use them. You may find that an “all-in-one” kit is perfect to store everything you need in one small box.

What you SHOULDN’T DO or be careful of while wearing contact lenses

Don'ts for contact lens care

Daily reminders

  • Don't expose lenses to tap water.

For cleaning and storing your lenses, never use water from the sink, saliva, or any another liquid not created for this purpose. Tap water contains microorganisms and bacteria, which, though safe to drink, can cause serious eye infections.

  • Avoid reusing solution or transferring solution to another bottle.

Discard yesterday’s solution as soon as you insert your lenses, and you’ll remember to pour in a fresh quantity when you next remove your lenses. When travelling, use solution from a travel bottle, and never transfer solution to a smaller bottle yourself.

  • Careful not to mix up your left and right lenses.

Establish a routine, or use a lens case with very distinct left and right caps to help you remember. You’ll avoid confusion and discomfort if you know your lenses are comfortably in their correct eye.

Opticians’ advice

  • Don't sleep in contacts unless approved by your optician.

Extended and continuous-wear lenses are a revolution in eye care, but never sleep in your lenses unless directed by your optician. Not everyone’s eyes can tolerate this length of wear, and only your optician can advise you after an eye exam.

  • Never use expired solution or lenses.

Expired solution can be contaminated, and expired lenses can have deteriorated to a point at which they become faulty. Don’t risk a split lens or irritated eyes, and remember to check your expiration dates.

  • DON'T use home-made solutions or lens cases.

Never attempt to make your own saline solution or use alcohol, baking soda, vinegar, etc. to clean your contact lenses. Don't use anything to store your lenses that isn’t designed for this purpose. Using proper contact lens products and solutions ensures healthy and comfortable wear.

Lifestyle considerations

  • Avoid swimming, showering, or visiting a sauna while wearing contact lenses.
Any contact of lenses with water means the risk of bacteria and eye infections. When swimming, use swimming goggles or, if necessary, wear daily lenses and discard them immediately after your activities. Eye drops can also help flush out bacteria.
  • Don't apply makeup before inserting your lenses.

Always insert your lenses before applying any cosmetics. And, before removing your makeup, always remove your lenses first. Both of these habits can minimise the possibility of trapping particles of makeup between your lens and your eye.

  • Never share lenses, cases, or makeup products.

It may be tempting to test out your friend’s new coloured lenses, or borrow her favourite mascara, but sharing these sensitive products can easily lead to eye infections. For the health of your eyes, it’s ok to be selfish!