Lens Hygiene

The Importance of a Follow-up

Even though it is very important to be properly fitted with contact lenses, it is just as important to follow-up with our Contact Lens Service as indicated by your contact lens specialist. At the follow-up appointments, we will ensure that your contact lenses are still a healthy option for you, make sure your contact lenses are still maximizing your needs, and update your contact lenses or care system as needed.

Your contact lens specialist can also ensure you are following proper lens hygiene procedures that can help keep your eye healthy and free from infection. Improper lens care and hygiene can cause serious conditions to develop that may require surgical or medical intervention to correct. There are some contact lens problems that do not cause symptoms, but can be potentially serious if not detected in a timely manner.

Properly Caring For Your Lenses

Each time you remove a lens from your eye, it’s important to clean and disinfect the lens prior to putting it back in your eye. There are many types of lens cleaners available that are designed for different types of lenses and conditions, such as if you have allergies or your eyes tend to form protein deposits. Your doctor can recommend the best cleaning solutions for your unique needs.

The best method for cleaning your contact lenses, no matter which type of cleaning solution you use, is “rub and rinse.” When using this method, you should rub your contact lenses with clean fingers, then rinse the lenses with a cleaning solution before soaking them. It’s recommended that you use this method even if the solution you are using is a “no-rub” type.

Never use saline solution or rewetting drops to disinfect your lenses as they are not disinfectants. We strongly advise avoiding tap water contact on your lenses or case. Tap water has micro-organisms in it that can contaminate and grow in your contact lens.

Additionally, do not wear lenses while taking a shower or in lake, ocean, hot tub, or pool environments.

Cleaning Your Lens Case

It is important to keep your contact lens case clean. We recommend that your case be replaced every 2-3 months or when you receive a new case with your cleaning solution. An old or contaminated case can be a source of bacterial growth that can lead to severe eye infection.

Only use sterile contact lens solution to rinse your contact lens case — never use tap water. After cleaning your case, leave the empty case open to air dry.

Risks of Improper Lens Hygiene

Corneal Invasion

Rinsing your lenses with tap water can introduce micro-organisms, called Acanthamoeba, that can contaminate and grow in your lenses. Ultimately this environment leads to corneal invasion thus causing a very painful ulcer. This infection, as well as others, can cause corneal scarring and permanent vision loss. Often times the only way to regain vision after an episode like this is to have a corneal transplant.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) is another condition caused by improper lens hygiene. GPC results in small bumps that develop under the upper lid that can be very irritating to the cornea thus complicating contact lens wear. It can be caused by sleeping in lenses, improper cleaning of lenses, wearing old lenses, and eye allergies. Frequently, GPC requires eye medication from the physician and when resolved, requires refitting of contact lenses.

Red Rings Around the Cornea

Oftentimes a red ring around the cornea after contact lens removal is a sign that the contact lens is fitting too tight. As a soft lens ages, it dehydrates and shrinks in size. If a lens is smaller in size, it can fit too tight on the cornea, therefore, cutting off an adequate supply of oxygen to the cornea. Sleeping in lenses or over-aging lenses can cause serious problems due to the increased dehydration of the lens.

Contact Lenses at the Dean McGee Eye Institute

If your doctor recommends contact lenses to aid your vision, our team of contact lens specialists can help find the best lenses to fit your unique needs. Schedule a contact lens fitting and start seeing more clearly by calling 405.271.6084 or 800.787.9012 to set up your appointment today!