I cringe as I write the word “hack” alongside “contact lens.” But, these particular hacks are meant to decrease health risks associated with a contact lens case and increase your safe wear of contact lenses. Many contact lens wearers think contact lens safety applies only to the contacts. But, the contact lens case used for storing 2 week and monthly replacement lenses is equally important in terms of risk for eye infections.
4 Safety Hacks for Your Contact Lens Case
1 Dump storage case solution every day. Then RINSE, WIPE, AND AIR-DRY it everyday
Reusing the solution in your contact lens storage case is not a good idea for many reasons. There are agents in your contact lens solution aimed at fighting microbes that cause infection. But, these agents don’t last forever. In order to maintain the potency of your contact lens solution, it’s important to refresh the solution every time you store your contact lenses in the case. A recent study also found that just air-drying the case alone didn’t remove bacteria “biofilm.” The study found that rinsing the case, wiping it with a clean tissue, then air-drying provided the best reduction of bacteria in the case.
2 Air-dry your contact lens storage case on a clean paper towel OUTSIDE of the bathroom
Putting your contact lens case on the back of the toilet is a pretty bad idea. No explanation needed. But, did you know your bathroom sink is almost as unsafe. Even if you passionately clean your bathroom sink, its constant moisture makes it prime breeding ground and housing for all types of microorganisms, including fungi which can cause sight-threatening eye infections. Even the space on the counter next to the sink is a risky place. Best advice: air-dry your contact lens storage case on a clean paper towel in a room that doesn’t contain a sink, shower, or toilet.
3 Replace your storage case often
I’ve touched on this before, but putting clean contact lenses into an old, dirty contact lens storage case is dangerous. Even if you take the previous two hacks seriously, storage case risks increase as the case ages. Think of the first two hacks as short-term management of risks. The long-term action is to replace the case frequently with a new, sterile, unused storage case. My recommendation is to replace cases monthly. It’s a small investment that could greatly reduce the health risks associated with contact lens storage cases.
4 Ditch the storage case completely and switch to a hydrogen peroxide cleaning system
What’s the best safety hack for your contact lens storage case? Get rid of it! Switching to a daily-disposable lens is an easy way to do that. But, if you’re committed to a 2 week or monthly replacement lens, switching to a hydrogen peroxide cleaning system can eliminate a lot of the risks associated with a traditional contact lens case. Clear Care is the most recommended of these systems. Clear Care uses hydrogen peroxide inside of a special holding chamber for your lenses. Technically, it’s a case. But, the hydrogen peroxide reaction going on inside this case makes your lenses and the case very sterile (clean). Essentially, as your contact lenses are being cleaned, the special case is being sanitized as well. If you use Clear Care, however, you MUST follow the directions carefully. Unlike traditional multipurpose contact lens solution, you cannot put a hydrogen peroxide solution into your eye. In its pure form, it would cause a chemical burn. However, when used in the system, closed in the chamber over night, the hydrogen peroxide is burned off to form sterile water within the case. At that point, the lenses are safe to put in the eyes.
I hope this article has helped you think about the contact lens case as an important part of your overall eye health. It could mean the difference between safe contact lens wear and serious eye infections with risks for permanent for permanent vision loss. As always, I’d love to hear your feedback. Feel free to shout on here or on Facebook.
Also, be sure to share this with a contact lens wearer you think could benefit from this information.