Contact lenses are a convenient way to correct your vision without eyeglasses. Because contact lenses are placed directly on your eye, hygiene is of paramount importance to prevent eye infections. Knowing how to properly clean contact lenses is important to keep your eyes healthy.
Cleaning and Storing Your Lenses at Night
The steps to follow for how to clean your contact lenses do take some time, but, with practice, it will become second-nature and take less time.
- Wash your hands with warm water and a soap that does not contain oils or creams
- Dry your hands thoroughly and check for any lint, hairs, or small debris that may irritate your eyes
- Move the lens around a bit to make sure that it is not dried to your eye – if it is, use moisturizing drops that are made for contact lenses
- Carefully remove the lens from your eye
If you wear disposable lenses, throw them out after you wear them. For non-disposable lenses, here are the steps for cleaning your lenses.
- Place both lenses in a lens case
- Add a multi-purpose cleaning solution that cleans and disinfects the lenses overnight
- Put the appropriate lid on each cavity of the lens case and finger-tighten
- Let the lenses soak in the solution for the amount of time listed in the instructions
How to Keep Your Lenses Clean When You Insert Them
If your eyes are dry, irritated, or red in the morning, do not put in your contact lenses until your eyes calm down. If you wear disposable lenses, put in a fresh pair every morning. Do not re-use disposable lenses. They are not designed to be used more than once, and this increases your chances of developing eye infections and irritation. For all other types of contact lenses, here are the steps to follow when inserting the lenses.
- Wash your hands using a soap that does not contain oils or creams, as these ingredients will irritate your eyes
- Dry your hands completely with a lint-free towel that is used only when you change out your contact lenses
- Check around your eyes for any stray eyelashes or hair that may get trapped under the contact lneses
- Open one side of your lens case so you make sure to put the right lens in the correct eye
- Keeping the lens on your finger, check it for any lint or tears
- Make sure that the lens is right-side out
- Rinse the lens with saline or multi-purpose solution
- Using the hand that does not have the contact lens, gently lift your eye open from the eyebrow
- Hold the lens about one inch from the front of your eye and slowly place it on your eyeball – do not apply any pressure to your eye
- Pull your finger away, and the lens should stay in place
- If the lens sticks to your finger, it may be too wet – place it back in the storage container, dry your hand and try again
- Once the lens is placed on your eye, blink a couple of times to set it in place
- If you notice any discomfort or irritation, remove the lens immediately and try a different lens
- Repeat these steps for the other eye
What to Do When Your Contact Lens is Dirty
Throughout the day, you may notice that your contact lenses are dirty or feel a speck of dust irritating your eye. Here are the steps to follow for how to clean dirty contact lenses.
- Wash your hands with water and soap that does not contain oils or creams
- Using one hand, gently lift your eyebrow to open your eye
- Gently place a finger on your contact lens, pull it slowly to the bottom of your eye, and then remove it
- Use a saline or multi-purpose cleaner to rinse the lens – do not rinse your lens with tap water
- If you do not have saline or multi-purpose cleaner with you, use eye drops that are made for contact lenses
- Inspect the lens for any dust, eyelashes, lint, or build-up on the surface
- Once the lens is clean, place it back into your eye
- If you experience any irritation or discomfort, remove the lens and replace it with a fresh lens
Types of Solutions for Contact Lenses
Not all contact lens solutions are the same. Here are the most common types of solutions and their intended uses.
- Saline solution for rinsing and storage only – does not clean or disinfect
- Hydrogen peroxide for cleaning and disinfecting using a two-step process
- Multi-purpose solution for rinsing, cleaning, and disinfecting in one step
- Moisturizing drops for improved comfort and basic rinsing without cleaning or disinfecting
You can use saline, multi-purpose solution, and moisturizer drops if you need to remove a bit of lint or debris from your lenses. If you notice a film over your lens, multi-purpose solution is your best bet. Put the lens in the palm of your hand, and add a little of the multi-purpose solution. Using your finger, gently rub the lens against your pam in a circular motion. Flip the lens inside out and repeat the steps. Rinse the lens with the solution and put it back into your eye. If the film is still present, remove the lens, and replace it with a fresh lens.
More Tips for Cleaning Your Contact Lenses
Here are a few more tips for keeping your contact lenses clean and comfortable.
- Never put your contact lenses in your mouth before inserting them in your eyes
- Exercise caution when changing the types of solutions that you use – check with your eyecare professional first
- If you notice any reddening, irritation, or discomfort, take the contacts out immediately
- Clean your lens case every morning by rinsing it with solution
- Keep the lids off your lens case during the day to avoid bacteria and mold growth inside the cavities
- Do not use lens cases that are damaged
- Never use someone else’s contact lenses or share yours with others
- Use fresh solution each day
- Clean your lenses at least one time per day to prevent protein build-up on the surface
- Never wear disposable lenses for longer than prescribed