contact lens care
The Bullet List of Contact Lens Care Recommendations
BY MICHAEL A. WARD, MMSC, FAAO
The following list of guidelines for lens care cleaning, storing and wearing is an edited amalgamation of borrowed recommendations from various sources, groups and individuals (see references.) I offer this compilation as a starting point for you to personalize your recommendations. It has not been approved in its entirety by any of the referenced organizations.
Solutions and Storage
You can offer this list to patients concerning lens handling, cleaning and storage.
• Always wash your hands with fragrance-free, lotion-free hand soap, rinse and dry.
• You may rub and rinse, even if the product is labeled "No Rub." Digital cleaning (rubbing the lens with your finger in your palm) may help remove dirt and debris and prepare the lens surfaces for disinfection.
• Always clean contact lenses when you remove them. Lens storage solutions contain chemicals that inhibit or kill potentially dangerous microorganisms while the lenses soak overnight.
• Do not re-use old solution or "top-off" the liquid in the lens storage case. Empty the storage case daily and always use fresh solution just prior to soaking.
• Do not use lens care products beyond their expiration dates. Discard opened bottles after 28 days.
• Do not allow the tip of the solution bottle to come in contact with any surface. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
• Do not transfer contact lens solution into smaller travel-size containers.
• Keep your contact lens storage case clean (inside and out). Empty the lens storage case daily and leave open to air dry. Scald the lens storage case weekly with freshly boiled water and allow to air dry. Replace the storage case regularly, every one to three months.
• Do not use cracked or damaged lens storage cases.
• Take care to remove residual solution from surfaces of lens case and solution bottles.
• Do not use water to rinse or store soft contact lenses.
• Do not put your lenses in your mouth.
• Do not use saline solution or rewetting drops in an attempt to disinfect lenses. Neither is capable of disinfecting contact lenses.
Do's and Don'ts for Lens Wear
Here is a compilation of lens wear recommendations.
• Do not wear your lenses during water activities (swimming, showering, etc).
• Wear and replace contact lenses according to the prescribed schedule.
• Follow the specific contact lens cleaning and storage guidelines from your eyecare practitioner.
• Do not change lens care products without first checking with your eyecare practitioner.
• Store spare rigid (GP) lenses dry for long-term storage. Clean and disinfect new or dry-stored GP lenses for at least four hours prior to lens wear.
• Do not store soft contact lenses in the storage case for an extended period of time. Store spare soft contact lenses in their original unopened packaging.
• Do not sleep in your contact lenses unless specifically approved to do so by your eyecare practitioner. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references.asp and click on document #154.
Mr. Ward is an instructor in ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine and Director, Emory Contact Lens Service.