All contact lens users have heard horror stories about contacts at some point in their life, but the truth is that the chances of getting an infection when wearing contact lenses is incredibly low. However, almost all infection cases have to do with poor hygiene, which is why it's important to disinfecting contact lenses correctly and regularly. 

Good contact lenses hygiene is vital for healthy eyes 

When you wear colored prescription contacts (or any other type of lenses that are not daily disposables), materials such as protein, mucous, and other debris can build up on the surface of the lens during the day. By disinfecting your lenses, you remove all this build-up, together with any harmful germs. Doing this helps prevent developing an eye infection or another complication.

The good news is that caring for contact lenses correctly is not difficult, and by disinfecting contact lenses on a regular basis, you'll be able to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable. The disinfecting techniques you should follow are the same for all types of non-disposable contacts, including colored contacts

How often should I disinfect my contact lenses?

You should disinfect your contact lenses every time you take them out of your eyes. When it comes to how often you should take them out of your eyes, simply follow the recommended wear schedule of your lenses. Some lenses are designed to be taken out every night, whereas bi-weekly and monthly lenses can last for up to a month, but it's still recommended to take them out and disinfect them nightly. 

What solution can I use to disinfect my contact lenses?

There are several types of contact lens solutions you can use to disinfect your prescription or colored eye contacts. Choosing the right one depends on the type of contact lenses you wear and the instructions provided by your optician.

The main types of contact lens solutions include:

  • Multipurpose solution — suitable for soft contact lenses, this solution cleans, disinfects and hydrates  
  • Hydrogen peroxide — also suitable for soft contact lenses, hydrogen peroxide has a stronger disinfecting power, but requires neutralizing.
  • Enzymatic tablets — if you're looking for deeper disinfection, you can add enzymatic tablets to your regular contact lens cleaning solution every one or two weeks.

One of the biggest mistakes contact lens wearers make when it comes to disinfecting contact lenses, is using the cleaning solution past its due date. Ideally, you should replace the contact lens cleaning solution every month, even if there is still liquid in the bottle. This is because the solution starts losing its properties when the bottle is open. Try not to use the solution more than mentioned in the instructions provided in the box. 

Finally, never top-up or reuse old solution. To avoid doing so by mistake, always pour away the old solution from the contact lens case, rinse thoroughly, and top up with fresh solution immediately.

How do I disinfect my contact lenses correctly?

There are several steps you should follow when removing your contacts to clean and disinfect them correctly.

  1. Wash your hands. Never touch or handle your contact lenses without first making sure your hands are clean. Wash your hands with an antibacterial soap, and try to avoid oily or perfumed soaps, as these substances may contaminate your lenses.
  2. Dry your hands. Handling any kind of contact lenses with wet hands increases the risk of infection. Dry your hands with a clean, lint-free towel.
  3. Remove the contacts and disinfect. Remove one of the contacts and put it on the palm of your hand. Pour multipurpose solution over the lens and rub it gently for about 30 seconds to disinfect it thoroughly. Put some more multipurpose solution on to remove any excess impurities.
  4. Store the contacts. Place the lens into the lens case, making sure it's in the correct compartment of you don't have the same prescription in both eyes.
  5. Repeat. Repeat all the steps for the second lens.
  6. Clean your contact lens holder. After you put your contact lens back, rinse the contact lens holder with saline solution. Don't forget to replace the holder every month to minimize the risk of infection.

What accessories do I need to keep my contacts clean?

To keep your contact lenses, clean, you need a couple of accessories. It's essential to replace both the solution you're using to clean your lenses with and the holder you use to store them overnight once every month. Even if you do disinfect the holder thoroughly after each use, replacing it regularly minimizes the chances of getting an infection. 

The most important accessory you need to keep your contacts in tip top condition is a lens case. You can choose from multiple varieties, including lens cases with cleaning function.

These lens cases are the perfect solution if you don't want to disinfect your lenses by rubbing them in the palm of your hand. With these cases, all you have to do is put the lenses inside the case, close it tight, pour solution until the lenses are soaked, and spin the case for about 30 seconds.

Some premium lens cases even have a built-in battery so you can clean your lenses at the click of a button. With these cases, all you have to do is place the lenses in a small storage basket, pour solution, and then simply press a button. The cleaning process will finish in about three minutes, and you don't have to do anything else.

What else should I know about disinfecting my contact lenses?

The most important thing to remember is to read the instructions provide with your contact lenses, cleaning solution, and any other accessories that you may use. This, coupled with following your optician's directions, is the best way to make sure you get the best comfort and performance when wearing contact lenses.

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