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Do you know what’s cleaning your contact lenses?
Even if you are a long-time wearer of contact lenses, entering the contact lens care aisle at the supermarket or drug store can be confusing. There are different types of contact lens care products and many brand names available, but not all lens care products are the same. And, some contact lens care products may not be compatible with certain contact lenses.
It’s critical for wearers to take proper care of their contact lenses. You can be at risk for a variety of eye infections if you don’t care for your contact lenses.
Since all soft contact lenses (except for daily disposables contact lenses) need to be cleaned, rinsed and disinfected before resuse, it’s important to use the proper disinfectant and maintain a proper cleaning schedule to minimize the risk of eye infections or irritations.
The Basics of Lens Care:
Why can't water be used for rinsing contact lenses?
Tap water contains chlorine, minerals and metal particles, which can damage both the lenses and the eye. Most importantly, water contains micro-organisms, which can lead to serious infections of the eye. Homemade saline, purified or distilled water are not sterile and do not disinfect contact lenses; they should not be used for rinsing or storing lenses.
The Five Most Important Things to Know about Lens Care
1. Cleaning and Disinfection
Cleaning and disinfecting are important to kill micro-organisms responsible for eye infections. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully for proper contact lens cleaning and disinfection.
Contact lenses must be stored in a proper lens case and in solutions approved for contact lens storage.
Use drops approved for re-wetting contact lenses as needed to alleviate symptoms of lens dryness. This is not an actual lens care step, but can be used for extra comfort.
4. The Lens Case
Data indicate that lens cases are a significant source of microbial contamination. Proper lens case cleaning and frequent case replacement are essential for minimizing the risk of contamination. Always follow the directions on the packaging insert for detailed instructions on cleaning and storing your lens case. Cases should be replaced at least every three months.
5. Replacement Schedule
Different lenses are made out of different materials. Because each material performs differently, manufacturers recommend a replacement schedule for each type of contact lens to allow for optimal performance of the lens. Most lenses worn today are intended to be replaced on a frequent basis. Typical replacement frequencies include one day, one to two weeks and one month. Speak to your eye care practitioner who will recommend a replacement schedule based on the contact lenses you are wearing and your individual needs.
Types of Contact Lens Care Products:
The first thing you need to know about selecting a contact lens system is to choose one that is made for the type of contact lens you wear. For example, if you wear soft contact lenses, be sure to buy only solutions that are meant for soft contact lenses.
There are four categories of contact lens care products: saline solution, daily cleaner, multi-purpose solution and hydrogen peroxide solution. These products do not all work the same, so talk to your eye care practitioner and familiarize yourself with each type to find the products that will meet your needs.
* Never rinse your contact lenses with hydrogen peroxide solution without completing the entire neutralizing steps. Never apply hydrogen peroxide solution directly to your eyesi
Understand the Difference Between “One-Bottle” Solutions:
The two most common types of “one-bottle” contact lens care systems are multipurpose solutions (MPS) and hydrogen peroxide-based solutions. They offer contact lens wearers one solution that disinfects, cleans, rinses and stores contact lenses.
Multipurpose solutions contain disinfecting ingredients to kill germs and other ingredients to help keep lenses clean and wet. Most MPS products require several steps for full disinfection and cleaning that vary by manufacturer. Additionally, most MPS products require a four to six hour soaking period to disinfect the lenses. MPS products should never be reused and new solution must be used each time lenses are disinfected. Although MPS products are easy to use, they must be used properly to be effective.
The second main type of lens care solution is hydrogen peroxide-based. These solutions offer excellent antimicrobial and cleaning efficacy. The lenses must be placed in the provided lens case for at least six hours, allowing the bubbling action to clean lenses thoroughly and for the disinfectant to become neutralized.
Unlike most MPS solutions and saline, hydrogen peroxide-based solutions must be neutralized and should never be used to rinse the lens immediately prior to inserting directly into the eye. It should always be used in the provided, specially designed lens case with built-in neutralizer for at least six hours before insertion.
Hydrogel peroxide based solutions have been shown to have superior cleaning ability and have gained favor with eyecare practioners.
Clear Care® Cleaning and Disinfecting Solution is the leading hydrogen peroxide-based solution, and in a study comparing it to leading multi-purpose solutions, silicone hydrogel contact lens wearers gave it superior ratings for comfort1ii. It comes with a specially designed clear case with a platinum-coated neutralizer disc. When the disc comes into contact with the solution, the hydrogen peroxide bubbles up actively to clean and remove the protein from contact lenses while killing germs and bacteria that can cause eye infections.
Clear Care® Cleaning and Disinfecting Solution makes thorough overnight cleaning and disinfection simple. Just incorporate the solution into your nighttime routine and your contact lenses will be clean and ready to wear when you wake in the morning (or after soaking for six hours). Like all peroxide-based solutions, in order to allow for complete neutralization of Clear Care®; it can not be used with conventional lens cases. It should only be used with the specially designed cases.
Be sure to talk to your eye care practitioner about your contact lens care routine.
When trying something new, always remember to read and follow the directions that come with any contact lens product. Not all products work the same, and you can avoid problems by simply using them as directed.
About CIBA VISION®
With a shared passion for healthy vision and better life, CIBA VISION® is a global leader in the research, development and manufacturing of contact lenses and lens care products. CIBA VISION® is dedicated to improving the quality of patients' lives around the world through innovative vision care solutions and strong partnerships with eye care professionals. With worldwide headquarters in Atlanta, CIBA VISION® products are available in more than 70 countries around the world. For more information, visit the CIBA VISION® web site at www.cibavision.com.
Note: Never rinse contact lenses with Clear Care® Cleaning and Disinfecting Solution prior to inserting lenses into your eyes or squirt the solution directly into your eyes. Clear Care is a powerful cleaning and disinfecting solution that will burn and sting your eyes and/or cause redness unless neutralized properly.
CLEAR CARE, CIBA VISION and the CIBA VISION logo are trademarks of Novartis AG.
© 2010 CIBA VISION Corporation, a Novartis AG company.
i Caring for Soft Contact Lenses – AllAboutVision.com [Accessed Nov. 12, 2010] Available at: http://www.allaboutvision.com/contacts/caresoftlens.htm
ii W. Ngo, et al. Eye & Contact Lens, Impact of Protein and Lipid on Neutralization Times of Hydrogen Peroxide Care Regimes, Volume 35, Number 6, November 2009.
iii Amos C. Comparing lens care systems for silicone hydrogel contact lenses. Contact Lens Spectrum. 2007; 22(12):40-43.