For many people, contact lenses offer superior comfort and are more aesthetically pleasing compared to glasses. But contact lenses need to be well kept and properly cared for in order to ensure corrected vision and good eye health. Providing proper care for your contact lenses is fundamental, since inconsistent cleaning and hydration of the lenses can lead to damage of the lenses and even infections in the eye.
While daily contact lenses are made to be worn once during the day then thrown away at night, bi-weekly and monthly contact lenses must be stored and cleaned overnight in order to continue wearing them. In order to avoid contamination of the lenses and infection of the eyes, make sure you know how to clean contacts. When it comes to damage or contamination of your lenses, an important point to remember is that this can occur not only throughout the day as you are wearing your lenses (rubbing your eyes, applying makeup, etc.), but also overnight from your lens case.
Why you should clean your contact lens case
It’s important to establish a regular cleaning and maintenance cycle for your lens case in order to prevent damage to your lenses and infections from occurring in your eyes. Lenses that are not stored properly, in their case and with solution, risk drying out. Lenses that are dried out are prone to scratches or cracks, and while it’s possible to rehydrate them using contact solution, it’s also important to consider how the lenses were stored, and if they also require sterilization before using them again.
If not stored in a sanitized environment, the lenses can become a haven for harmful bacteria. When lenses are used without thorough cleaning, they can give rise to infections in the eye and potentially even loss of vision if infections are left untreated and worsen over time. To prevent infection, clean your contacts regularly, avoid wearing damaged lenses, keep them sealed in a clean case when not in use, and be sure to replace your case regularly every three months.
How to clean contact lens case, step by step
While the potential consequences of eye infection may seem daunting, infection is easily preventable through proper and consistent contact case cleaning. If you are considering making the switch to contact lenses, it’s important to know how to sterilize contact lens cases properly:
- Make sure to completely empty the solution from the case after each use. Cleaning solution in the contact lens case should be disposed of after each cleaning and replaced with fresh solution at the next cleaning.
- Coat the entire case. Wash your hands thoroughly and use your clean, dry fingers to coat the inside of the case, or consider using another sterile object to spread the solution around the case interior.
- Rinse the case with contact cleaning solution and disinfect the case with scalding water. You can disinfect the case by running it under scalding hot water. Once it’s clean and dry, re-coat the inside of the case with cleaning solution. Otherwise, stick to using contact cleaning solution when rinsing out your case.
- Replace your case every three months. Most contact lens cases aren’t designed to last a lifetime, so make sure you switch them out on a regular basis to keep your contacts clean.
When you should change your contact lens case
According to the American Optometric Association, you should consider changing your contact lens case one every three months in order to avoid contact lens contamination from buildup of bacteria in the case that can occur despite cleaning with saline solutions. New cases usually come along with each bottle of solution, though this is not always the case.