There are a lot of myths about contact lenses, but needing to keep them as clean as possible is not among them. Germs on your lenses translate to infections in your eyes. But no matter how well you clean your lenses, if you don’t properly care for your case, you can still end up in trouble. Follow these lens case care tips to make sure you’re not reinfecting your clean lenses.
Wash your case (after every use)
Unlike eyeglasses, you must wash your contact lenses at the end of each day. Get in the habit of including your case in that nightly ritual. Contact lens cases are like miniature petri dishes. Germs and other remnants of old cleaning solution and contacts can gather in your case, coating it with a fine film of debris. Dust and other particles from the air and germs living in your bathroom cabinet will also make their way into your lens case and from there, onto your lenses.
Clean your case before you soak your lenses. Dunking it in boiling water for a few moments or sending it through the dishwasher are great ways to sterilize your lens case. Barring that, clean it thoroughly using the following steps:
- Completely empty the case
- Fill each side with contact cleaning solution
- Gently rub the solution about the case with clean hands
- Let the case air dry face down on a clean towel
Avoid tap water at all costs
We’ve all had those evenings when we’re in a hurry and we look for quick shortcuts. It can be tempting to rinse a contact lens case under running water for a few seconds to clean it. Yet doing so may be dangerous.
Many germs, including the very dangerous acanthamoeba keratitis, lurk in tap water (and distilled water), don’t risk getting them in your eyes.
Replace your case
Contact cases should be discarded after about three months, and sooner if they become unreasonably dirty or contaminated. It’s a good idea to stock up on a few extra cases so if the one you’re using falls in the toilet, you’re not left dashing to the drug store at midnight. Many contact cleaning solutions come with a free case so you’re never caught short.
And don’t forget to change your case after traveling! As soon as you start to unpack, throw your old case away and break out the new one. Travelling with a spare pair of prescription glasses is also a good safety measure, so you’re never tempted to use a dirty lens case.
Try single-use contacts
The safest way to wear contacts is to change them out every day. This eliminates the need for daily cleaning of the case or the lenses themselves. Single-use contacts are available online from 39DollarGlasses.com. Prescription glasses and sunglasses are also available for those days when you want a break from contact lenses.