Contact lens cases can be a breeding ground for disease
Clear vision is a gift of modern times that many of our ancestors could only have dreamed of, and contact lenses provide a means to improve and sharpen your vision without having to worry about losing your glasses or the bulkiness that comes with using them. However to maintain your healthy eyes and extend the lifespan of your contact lenses, proper care is a must, and maintenance of the contact lens case plays a major part. A contaminated lens case can lead to eye infections or damage to your contact lenses, so it is imperative you clean it regularly. Here is how you should clean your contact lens case:
1. Daily Cleaning Routine:
After removing your contact lenses from the case in the morning:
a. Empty out the old solution from the lens compartments. Never reuse the solution! It loses its disinfecting properties after one single use.
b. Rinse each compartment of the case with a fresh contact lens solution. Avoid using tap water, as it may contain impurities or harmful microorganisms and can lead to serious eye infections.
c. Shake out any excess solution and leave the case to air dry upside down on a clean fresh towel. The drying process will help prevent the growth of harmful microbes.
2. Weekly Deep Cleaning:
Even with daily rinsing, we advise you to give your lens case a more thorough cleaning at least once a week:
a. Fill each compartment with contact lens solution and let it sit for a few minutes.
b. Use a clean toothbrush (reserved solely for this purpose and for nothing else) to scrub the inside of the case very gently. This will help in removing any biofilm or deposits that might have built up over the week.
c. Rinse thoroughly with fresh contact lens solution.
d. Air dry the case completely exactly as described above for your daily routine.
3. Monthly Replacement:
While proper cleaning can significantly reduce the risk of contamination, wear and tear on the lens case itself can create small crevices or gaps where bacteria can hide and grow. In order to keep your eyes as healthy as possible you should consider replacing your lens case every month or at the very least every three months. Most contact lens solutions include a free case in the packaging, making regular replacements easy and cost-effective.
4. Avoid Common Mistakes:
a. Never use tap water: As already pointed out above never use tap water! Always use a fresh contact lens solution for rinsing and storing your lenses.
b. Avoid "topping off": Always empty the case of the old solution before adding a new solution. Mixing old and new solutions dilutes the disinfecting capability of the mix.
c. Keep the case closed: Whenever you’re not using the case always close the lid to prevent dust or any other contaminants from going inside.
5. Travel Tips:
If you're on the move, you should seriously consider buying a travel-sized contact lens solution and a portable case. Before you travel, give your case a thorough cleaning, and once you reach your destination make sure you maintain your regular cleaning routine.
6. Watch for Signs of Contamination:
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the case can get contaminated. Be on the lookout for:
a. Discolouration of the case
b. Persistent unusual odour
c. Any change in the texture inside the compartments
If you notice any one of the above signs, replace your contact lens case immediately!
A clean contact lens case is essential when it comes to maintaining healthy eyes. While the steps might seem boring initially, they will quickly become a part of your daily routine. With just a few minutes each day and an extra few minutes for a more thorough clean once a week, you can keep your vision safe against any potential infections. Your eyes are irreplaceable, so give them the care they deserve.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 3 Oct 2023, Last modified: 20 Feb 2024