Contact Lenses: Lens Care Solutions
When you are fitted for contact lenses a particular lens care system is recommended -- a group of products to clean, disinfect and make your lenses safe and comfortable for wear.
Since different systems use different types of chemicals, it is not advisable to mix or substitute solutions from other systems. Doing so could lead to discolored lenses, eye discomfort or eye injury. In particular, rigid lens solutions should not be used to clean or disinfect soft lenses as the chemicals can damage the soft lens material.
Soft Contact Lens Care Systems
Regardless of how they are packaged, most lens care systems include products that perform six different functions. Some systems combine two or more functions into one product while others keep them separate. The functions required are dependent upon the type of lens regimen and your eyes and will be discussed with you as part of a contact lens training program.
The six different functions performed by soft lens care systems are:
Daily Cleaning to remove debris accumulated and adhering loosely to the lens. This debris, if not removed, can eventually make the lenses uncomfortable, interfere with vision and reduce the ability of the disinfecting solution to kill potentially harmful microorganisms. In addition, the cleaning solutions perform the first step in the disinfection process.
Disinfecting to kill growing forms of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) on the lenses.
Rinsing and Storing requires the use of an ophthalmic isotonic saline solution or may be performed with some types of disinfectant solution. Most saline solutions are not suitable for storage of lenses, as they do not contain anything to kill or prevent the growth of microorganisms.
Comfort or Lubricating Drops are used to provide refreshment for dry eyes, in conditions of low humidity or for added comfort near the end of the wearing day.
Protein Removal removes stubborn protein deposits and, with daily cleaning and disinfection, helps restore a clean, fresh contact lens surface. Protein removal is generally not required for planned replacement lenses, which are replaced before the deposits can cause difficulties.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lens Care Systems
RGP lenses must be cleaned and disinfected for safe and comfortable wear.
The lens care system recommended will include a group of products designed to work together to clean, rinse, disinfect and remove protein deposits and to re-wet your eyes if they become dry during contact lens wear.
It is important to use only those systems designed specifically for rigid gas permeable lenses. They are formulated with disinfectants and preservatives proven to work best with the material of which your lenses are made.
If you wish to change your lens care regimen or to try a new lens care product, it is best to discuss this first, even if only by telephone, to ensure that you select products that are compatible with your eyes and will work well.