When it comes to use of contacts, it is essential to practice proper eye hygiene. A study conducted by Bausch & Lomb this past August determined that many individuals regularly use strange chemicals in place of lens solution to keep their lenses moist. Substances such as baby oil, beer, coke, petroleum jelly, lemonade, fruit juice, butter and others were all listed as occasional substitutes, by 20% of the two thousand adults that responded in the UK.
An even more alarming number of those queried indicated that they use saliva when putting lenses in their eyes. Knowing that the typical adult mouth contains 500 to 650 different types of germs, this can pose a serious health risk to your eyes. Further, many people believe that tap water, bottled water or distilled water are a safe replacement for lens solution, although even those may contain parasites that can damage the eye and have been linked to Acanthamoeba keratitis, a sight-threatening infection. Even moreso, if you get water in your eyes from a pool, ocean or even a bath while your lenses are in, it's advised to remove your contacts as soon as you can and thoroughly rinse them to rinse off any parasites that may have stuck to them.
The only liquid that should be used to rinse, disinfect, moisten or store your lenses is proper lens solution. Don't ever store your contact lenses in water! Keeping your contacts in water isn't effective in sterilizing them and harmful fungi can grow on your contacts within minutes and eventually enter your eyes. In addition, contact lens solution is made to compliment the acidity of the tear film in your eyes and conversely water can cause a reaction which makes your contacts change shape or stick causing discomfort and blurred vision.
At times that you know that you do not have the means to properly disinfect your lenses, definitely try to use daily disposable contact lenses instead of resusable lenses. It's imperative to take age, lifestyle and level of responsibility into consideration when determining which contacts are best for the members of your family.
Before purchasing your first pair of contacts you should make sure you learn with your eye care professional the proper way to care for and store them.
Don't forget failure to properly clean and disinfect your contact lenses with proper contact lens solution can result in serious eye damage, vision loss and even blindness!