Eye Health Central

Contact lens cleaning: a guide to proper contact lens cleaning and care

The importance of good contact lens cleaning

For anyone who wears reusable contact lenses, cleaning and maintenance are important tasks that will help to ensure both the comfort and health of your eyes.

Contact lens cleaning isn't just a question of keeping your corrective lenses dirt-free, it's also vital for maintaining good ocular health. 

Every day, we are exposed to dirt, dust, fungi and bacteria in the air around us. If these things end up in our eyes, they can cause problems such as discomfort, inflammation, ulceration or even infection.

One rare but serious condition, acanthamoeba keratitis is caused by a microscopic organism and is usually found in patients who have not kept their lenses adequately clean. This illness can lead to severe pain, and in the most acute conditions could require surgical treatment.

In addition, contacts can slowly accumulate a build-up of protein and calcium that comes from your tears. This can cause the lenses to become cloudy, thus impairing your vision. It can also stop the flow of oxygen to your eyes, which can cause other eye-health problems.

The good news however, is that with a meticulous cleaning programme, you can easily avoid such problems and enjoy the benefits of hygienic lenses and corrected vision. 

How to clean contact lenses

Each type of lens will require different care, so you should discuss your cleaning regime with an eye care specialist. Also be sure to read the instructions provided with the lenses. Before you start handling your contacts or cleaning them, it is vital that you wash your hands thoroughly. This will help to prevent unwanted contamination. In most cases, the process will involve rubbing the lenses (although for some products this step should be avoided), soaking them in a contact lens cleaning solution and carefully rinsing them. Depending on your lenses and your personal preferences, you may also want to consider using a conditioner that prevents the dryness and redness of the eyes that some patients experience.

When to clean your contact lenses

The amount of lens cleaning required will depend on the type of contacts that you wear and how often they are removed. In general, it's good practice to clean them every time they are taken out. You should also be sure to clean your lenses carefully whenever a foreign object or substance comes into contact with your eyes. For example, lenses should always be removed when you go swimming, but if you forget to take the lenses out, be sure to clean them thoroughly as soon as possible afterwards. If the maintenance requirements sound like too much trouble, you may want to consider other options that don't require any cleaning at all. Daily disposables, as well as continuous-wear lenses may be the right choice for you.

Get contact lens cleaning solutions

To find out more about contact lens cleaning, it's probably best to speak to your eye care professional. They can discuss the various options with you and provide recommendations based on the needs of your eyes.

If you're looking for cleaning products, Contactlenses.co.uk can help. We've brought together a collection of cleansers, disinfectants, rinses and conditioners from leading eye care brands, so you can rest assured you're properly maintaining your corrective lenses.

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 24 Apr 2015, Last modified: 4 Mar 2020