Contact Lens Care

Contact Lens Maintenance Products- What Do They Really Do?

Proper maintenance of contact lenses is a must for every lens wearer. Well maintained lenses will last longer and will also help guard against infections or other health problems. It is necessary to have the proper maintenance products for contact lenses as plain soap and water will not get the job done and will most likely destroy the lenses.

The following is a list of contact lens maintenance products with a brief description of what each product does for the lenses:

A) Cleaning solution
Once the lens is removed from the eye, this product is applied and gently rubbed on the contact with one finger while cupping the lens in the opposite hand. The purpose of the cleaning solution is to remove dirt and debris that may have collected on the lens while it was being worn. Keeping the lens clean will help with maintaining visual acuity and comfort.

B) Soaking solution
Contact lenses will need to be immersed in a soaking solution for several hours after they are cleaned. Most contact wearers have the lenses soak overnight. The purpose of the soaking solution is to re-hydrate the lenses as they tend to dry out after being worn all day. Some soaking solutions will also disinfect the lenses as they soak overnight.

C) Combination solutions
Some manufacturers of contact lens products have created solutions that perform several functions. For example, there are products on the market that combine cleaning, wetting and soaking solutions in one bottle. The purpose of these combination solutions is to create a convenient, one step product for the lens wearer.

D) Disinfecting solution
Germs can hide in contact lenses, whether they are bacterial, viral or fungal. A hydrogen peroxide or chemical disinfectant can kill these germs and help to safeguard against infection. Care should be taken if hydrogen peroxide is used, since this can be irritating to the eye. A neutralizing solution should be applied to the lens after the hydrogen peroxide. Chemical disinfectants do not need to be neutralized afterwards.

E) Neutralizing solution
If hydrogen peroxide is used to disinfect the contact lenses, a neutralizing solution is needed. The solution turns hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, which are harmless to the eye. Neutralizers can also be found in tablet form.

F) Enzyme preparations
Protein can build up on contact lenses over time, and must be removed periodically. Enzyme preparations remove the protein buildup and should be used weekly. Keeping contact lenses free of protein buildup will lengthen the life of the lenses. Some contact lenses will need to be disinfected after using the enzyme preparation, so read all directions thoroughly.

G) Wetting solution
Hard or rigid contact lenses sometimes require additional cushioning for optimal comfort. A wetting solution will create a buffer between the lens and the eye, thus improving the wearer’s comfort. This solution is applied to the lens before inserting it into the eye.

H) Rewetting solution
Occasionally, contact lenses dry out during the day when they are being worn. This can be quite uncomfortable for the wearer. It can feel as if a piece of dirt is stuck on the eye, or sometimes it can be a burning sensation. Rewetting solutions are applied to the eye while the lens is still being worn and will help alleviate the discomfort.

I) Water
This simple, every day liquid is important to mention. Rigid gas permeable lenses can be rinsed with water without causing harm to the lenses. On the other hand, soft lenses must never be rinsed with or placed in water. Soft lenses are made of hydrogel, and water will cause significant damage to the lenses.

G) Saline solution
Some contact lens products will need to be washed away after applying them to the lenses. If water cannot be used for this purpose, as in the case of soft lenses, a sterile saline solution can be used. Saline solutions are also used to clean lenses in a heating system or lenses can be stored in the saline.

You would find a sea of products aimed at contact lens wearers and as a user you should better know which one to use and which not. There are differences between products for rigid gas permeable lenses and soft lenses. Follow the guidelines provided by an optometrist to maintain the lenses and use the recommended best brands only. For the longevity of the lenses and overall health of the eyes, follow the guideline as close as possible.