Seunga (Jasmine) Han, PharmD Candidate
Let’s say you’ve got your prescription lenses and read through the necessary steps for proper contact lens care. You go to the nearest grocery store to grab some contact lens solution, only to find that there are rows and rows of products of various brands and uses. Feeling overwhelmed, you may have just picked one up based on your friends’ recommendation or an online search. But don’t you want to know more about what each solutions are for?
Contact Lens Solutions
While it can be quite overwhelming to choose a product among so many, it’s important to have a good understanding of the different types of solutions to ensure proper care of your contact lenses. Additionally, it’s important to check if the solution is compatible with your lens type.
#1 Multipurpose Solutions
Biotrue® Multi-purpose Solution, re-nu MultiPlus® Multi-purpose Solution, OPTI-FREE® Puremoist/Express/Replenish Multi-purpose Solution, COMPLETE Multi-purpose Solution EASY RUB® FORMULA, Boston SIMPLUS Multi-Action Solution®
As the name suggests, multipurpose solutions are an “all-in-one” product that has multiple uses. Naturally, they’re one of the most common and popular type of contact lens solutions that are used by any. Even though multipurpose solutions are available for RGP lenses, it’s recommended that RGP lenses are rinsed with saline rinse before insertion and are rewet using artificial tears.1
#2 Cleaning Solutions
Boston ADVANCE® Cleaner, Boston® One Step Liquid Enzymatic Cleaner, CLENS-100, OPTI-FREE® Supra CLENS® Daily Protein Remover, Sensitive Eyes® Daily Cleaner
Cleaning is a critical part of contact lens care regimen because rinsing without cleaning won’t get rid of contact lens contaminants. Not only does cleaning remove contaminants, it also optimizes vision, comfort, eye health, and lens lifespan. There are two main types of cleaning solution:1
- Surfactants are used for removing loose debris
- Protein cleaners are used for removing embedded proteins
Taking proper steps to clean and rinse your contact lenses can remove more than 99.9% of contaminants and prevent the risk of eye infection. How do you do this?1
- Remove your lens
- Add a few drops of surfactant to each lens surface
- Clean them in the palm of your hand for 30-60 seconds using your index finger in circular motion
- Rinse of the surfactant with a rinsing solution (normal saline or multipurpose solution) before disinfecting
#3 Disinfecting Solutions
Disinfecting solutions are used to kill microorganisms on lenses, and may or may not contain preservatives to maintain the sterility of the solution. Although different chemicals are used in disinfecting solution based on the lens type, both soft and RGP lenses are disinfected by soaking them overnight in the disinfecting solution. Keep in mind:1
- Soft lenses MUST be rinsed thoroughly with at least 25mL of rinsing solution (normal saline or multipurpose solution) before wearing them
- RGP lenses may be rinsed with normal saline or the disinfecting solution itself
- Water (e.g., tap, bottled, distilled) isn’t recommended for any lens due to potential accumulation of minerals and bacterial contamination.
While many use multipurpose solutions for disinfection, hydrogen peroxide is the most effective chemical disinfectant. While it’s very mild for the eyes, it’s very important to ensure that hydrogen peroxide has been completely neutralized before placing them in your eyes. Additionally, make sure that your contact lenses are free of multipurpose solution by rinsing with hydrogen peroxide before soaking in the solution, since the solution will foam and overflow the lens case. Lastly, do not use hydrogen peroxide first aid products as they are not designed for ophthalmic use and may contain chemicals or contaminants that cause irritation in the eyes.1
#4 Wetting and Rewetting Solutions
Sensitive Eyes® Lens Lubricant, Boston® Rewetting Drops, re-nu MultiPlus® Lubricating Drops
These are artificial tears preserved with chemicals that are compatible with soft lenses. Some solutions containing hydroxypropulcellulose or sodium hyaluronate offer lubrication and cushioning actions between the lens and eyelid and between the lens and cornea. So, those suffering from dryness as a result of contact lens use may benefit from lubricants – keep in mind, comforting effects don’t last longer than 1-2 hours. Moreover, limit use of artificial tears to one drop every 4-5 hours to prevent red, irritated eyes. Wetting solutions are especially important for RGP lens users for reducing the foreign-body sensation upon insertion. This sensation occurs because it takes about 15 minutes for the eye to create a layer of tear film that wet the lens. By using the wetting solution, you can minimize the transitional discomfort until the eyes adjust.
Before we wrap up, we’ll quickly cover care routines for lens cases, because there is no point in keeping your contact lenses clean if your storage cases are not:1
- Routinely (at least monthly) boil storage cases in water for 10 minutes
- Allow the lens case to cool for 30–45 minutes before lenses are placed in it
- If a case cannot be boiled at least once a month, it should be replaced.
- Even when it’s cleaned properly on a regular basis, replace a lens case every 3 months
- Replace the soaking solution daily, and flush the case of old solution and air-dry it before adding new solution
This article may have overwhelmed you with lots of information, but remember, you only get one pair of eyes. It’s crucial to take the necessary steps to keep your contact lenses and lens case clean using appropriate solutions. We hope you took away something valuable from this piece. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this article or others, feel free to reach out to us on Instagram, Facebook, or at firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback. We’d love to hear from you.