Proper use of everything related to your contact lenses – including the case – is essential for good eye health. Did you know that unclean contact lens storage cases can be a major source of contact-lens related eye infections? Using contact lenses already puts you at increased risk of issues such as dry eye or various infections. Infections can happen within 24 hours of wearing compromised lenses.
Here are some dos and don’ts of contact lens and case care:
Do wash your hands with soap and water before handling your contacts and the case. If you don’t you could deposit microorganisms from your hands onto your contacts and case, making it easier for pathogens to get into your eyes and cause irritation or infection.
Do wash your case after every use. If you are not cleaning your case bacteria gets in there and grows like in a Petri dish and bacteria is reintroduced back on to your contacts when you put them away again. The AOA suggest that you clean your case after every use.
- Dump out the old solution. Do not top off old solution with new.
- Rinse the case with fresh solution.
- Wipe the case out with a clean tissue.
- Let the case air dry upside down with the caps off
- Do the same with the caps.
DO NOT use tap water to clean your contacts or the case. It is not clean enough to rinse lenses and cases. The parasite Acanthamoeba can be found in tap water and can cause a severe infection called Acanthamoeba Keratitis, also known as Chesapeake eye infection.
It is also recommended to replace your contact lens case every 3 months. Bacteria and other microorganisms can produce a substance called Biofilm that can form in your case and it cannot be seen.
Do not swim in your contacts again there is a multitude of organisms in a swimming pool or natural swimming area like beaches, lakes and ponds.
Store your contacts and case in a less humid environment instead of the bathroom, the humid air creates a breeding ground for microorganisms.
Never use saliva to clean your contacts or case there are millions of bacteria in the human mouth.
Probably the biggest NO, NO- DO NOT share a contact lens case.
Work on that contact hygiene as diligently as you can to protect all those pretty eyes out there.
Getty / Tatyana Kochkina