The Complete Guide on Contact Lens Care

Thu, August 11th, 2022

Contact lens care is an essential part of reaping the benefits of contacts—and keeping your eyes healthy. Without properly caring for your lenses, you’re not only potentially hindering their performance, but you’re also opening yourself up to eye health risk.

Contact lens care is important, but it’s not difficult. Knowing how to create a proper care routine can set you up for success, and understanding the do’s and don’ts of contact care will minimize the risk of potential issues. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about contact lens care.

Why Contact Lens Care is Important

Different contacts require different levels of care, but all contact lens wearers need to take care of their lenses. The number one reason why contact lens care is so important is that it reduces the risk of potential eye health issues. Improper care can result in eye redness, dry eyes, or blurriness. Not only can these cause irritation for the eye, but they can also indicate potentially serious eye problems, such as an eye infection.

The most common type of eye infection from contact lens use is keratitis—an infection of the cornea. In serious cases, keratitis can lead to scarring of the cornea, which may lead to further vision loss or even blindness. Many of the most common causes of keratitis—and other eye infection—is improper care or use of contacts. If you suspect you have an eye infection, you should stop wearing your contacts immediately and see an eye care professional as soon as possible.

The good news is that properly fitted and cared-for contact lenses are completely safe. Following the recommended cleaning instructions and habits for your lenses dramatically reduces the risk of infection or other health issues.

Care by Type of Contacts

Most contacts worn are soft disposable contact lenses—however, the split between daily vs. monthly contact lenses is more even. And with daily contact lenses increasing in popularity, it’s important to understand how daily contact lens care differs from that of bi-weekly or monthly contacts.

One of the reasons that daily contacts have become a popular option is because of how little care they require to be worn safely. This is because a new pair of lenses is used daily, meaning there is no need to clean the lenses and soak them in contact lens solution. This greatly reduces the overall time needed for lens care and ensures that each day starts with a fresh, clean pair of lenses. 

Daily lenses are often thinner than other disposable lenses, so they need to be handled carefully to avoid tears or rips. It’s also important to strictly follow the replacement schedule—wearing daily lenses for more than one day increases the risk of eye health issues.

On the other hand, other disposable soft contacts require daily care being that they are worn more than once. The two most common are bi-weekly and monthly contacts. Lens care is generally the same for either type, with the only major difference being when the pair should be replaced. These lens types need to be cleaned with contact solution and soaked in a contact lens case before they are worn again.

Like daily lenses, it’s also important to replace bi-weekly or monthly contacts on schedule. If necessary, mark a calendar or make a note of when a new pair is used so that you don’t forget when they need to be discarded.

Step-by-step Contact Lens Care Process

How to properly take care of your contact lenses will vary depending on the type of contacts you have. Because of this, it’s important to consult with an eye care professional and read all manufacturer instructions and information to determine the best way to care for your contact lenses.

That being said, soft contact lenses are the most common type of lenses, and most are cared for in a similar way. Below is a general step-by-step guide on how to care for soft disposable contact lenses. Note: this doesn’t apply to daily contacts which don’t require nightly cleaning and care.

1. Wash Your Hands

Before taking your contact lenses out, it’s important to thoroughly wash and dry your hands. This will ensure your hands are free of bacteria that could end up in your eye.

2. Remove and Clean the Lenses

Remove one of the lenses and place it in your palm. Apply contact lens solution and the fingers of your other hand to rub the lens. The amount of time will depend on the specific recommendation for your contacts and solution, but it’s typically around 10-20 seconds.

After rubbing the lens, rinse with contact solution. Empty the existing solution from your contact lens case and place the clean lens in the designated well of the case. Fill the well with new contact lens solution. Repeat with the other lens.

3. Soak the Lenses

Once the lenses have been cleaned, rinsed, and placed into the lens case, let them soak. The optimal soaking time will depend on the solution used, but it’s generally between 4 and 8 hours. It’s common practice to let the lenses soak overnight so that the lenses are clean for next day’s use.

4. Change Your Lenses and Case Regularly

In addition to daily lens cleaning, make sure you keep track of how long your lenses have been worn and how long you’ve used your lens case. For example, if you have bi-weekly contacts, discard them at the end of the 14th day of use, and start the next day with a new pair.

In general, you should also replace your contact lens case every 2-3 months. Bacteria may build up in the case over time, and not changing the case often enough can lead to infection. Being that a new case is typically provided with a new contact solution, always throw your old case out and use the new one.

Contact Lens Care Tips

For lenses that require daily cleaning and care—such as bi-weekly or monthly contacts—there are a variety of tips that can make your contact lens care process effective and efficient. In addition, all contact lens wearers should follow guidelines for wearing the lenses properly. Let’s take a look at some general tips and best practices for contact lens care.

Contact lens care infographic

Establish a Routine

One of the best ways to practice good contact lens care is to establish a care routine. Following the steps above will ensure you properly clean the lenses, but you may also want to build more repetition into the process to ensure nothing is missed.

For example, take out the same lens first when cleaning. If you tend to start with the right lens, always start there. That way, you’ll always know which lens you’re working with. 

If you wear your contacts daily and take them out at night, establish a set time to remove them. This will ensure they aren’t being worn too long, and that they soak for the recommended amount of time before the next use.

Only Use Contact Lens Solution for Cleaning and Soaking

Contact lens solution is specially designed to clean and preserve your contact lenses. So when it comes to cleaning and soaking your lenses, stick to solution. Don’t use saline solution or eye drops as these can’t properly disinfect the lenses. Never use water to rinse or soak lenses.

Avoid Water When Possible

In general, don’t wear contacts in any situation where they may come in contact with water. This includes showering, taking a bath, or swimming. Wait to put your lenses in until after your morning shower, or take your lenses out before soaking in a hot tub or jumping in the pool.

Don’t Sleep With Contacts In

As a rule of thumb, don’t sleep with contacts in. While there are extended wear lenses designed to be worn overnight, these are only prescribed in special cases. Other types of contacts shouldn’t be worn while sleeping, as they make it difficult for the eye to get the oxygen it needs. This can lead to potentially serious eye issues.

Beware of Using Eye Drops While Wearing Contacts

Common, over-the-counter eye drops should not be used while wearing contacts as they can damage contact lenses. If you have dry eyes or redness, consult with an eye care professional to determine the best course of action. These symptoms may signal a potential eye health concern, or the type of contacts you’re using may not be right for you. Additionally, there may be eye drops available that are safe to use with your lenses.

If You Drop Your Lens, Throw It Out

Most experienced contact lens wearers have had a lens fall onto the floor while putting it in or taking it out. In this case, it’s best to throw the lens away and replace it with a new one. This will guarantee that any bacteria or other microorganisms the lens picked up on the floor will stay out of your eye. While a thorough cleaning may be enough to remove them, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Stay Up-to-date on Eye Exams

Getting regular eye exams is a great way to ensure the overall health and wellness of your eyes and get the best performance out of your contact lenses. In addition to daily contact lens care, schedule yearly eye exams to keep your prescription up-to-date and detect any changes in your eyes. Eye exams are also a great time to discuss your contacts and contact care habits with your eye care professional.

The Benefits of Daily Contacts

Caring for contacts doesn’t have to be difficult. By following the recommendations and guidelines of your eye care professional and lens and solution manufacturers, your contact lenses will stay clean and fresh.

However, daily contact lenses are a great way to minimize the time spent caring for your contacts while maximizing performance. Because daily contacts don’t need to be rinsed or soaked each day, there’s no need for a nightly cleaning routine. You also don’t need to keep up on contact solution or clean your contact lens case.

This also helps keep the lenses as fresh as possible. Over time, even with proper cleaning, bi-weekly or monthly contact lenses may experience buildup of proteins or other deposits, which can hamper performance and potentially lead to eye issues.

To get the most out of your contact lenses—and save some time on contact lens care—try daily contacts from Hubble. With Hubble, you get high-quality daily contact lenses shipped right to your door—no need to worry about running out. Start your daily contact lens subscription today for only $1 and find out why contact lens wearers love Hubble.