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Contact Lens Care Basics

K Updated on April 16, 2015

Lens case and solutionThe single most important step you can take to avoid complications with your contact lenses is to learn how to care for them. When you get a prescription at your eye doctor’s office, they will walk you through the care and cleaning process. It takes some effort, but use your contacts as directed just like you would with any other prescribed health care treatment.

Handling Your Contact Lenses

Before you take your contacts out of the case, wash your hands thoroughly so that no dirt or dust gets on the lenses. Use a mild soap, free of perfumes or dyes if possible, and dry your hands with a lint-free towel. Some companies sell hypoallergenic soaps for people who wear contacts; those products are best if you can find them. Your contact lens case or anything else that touches your contacts should also be kept clean. Clean and air dry your lens case daily and replace it every few months.

And since you asked, we do not recommend bathing dogs, cats, or other domestic or non-domestic animals of any size, even if you are an animal doctor, before taking out your contacts.

Lens Care Solutions

There are some things on which all eye doctors agree. You shouldn’t try making your own saline solution, and you should never use expired solution. If someone else offers you their solution, new or used, just say no. Contact lenses weren’t meant to be cleaned by tap water or bottled water. If you’re tempted to use either of these, please reconsider. And the time will come when it will seem natural to use saliva or some other random liquid to wet your contacts. No matter how great the idea seems, you should probably avoid it if your eye doctor didn’t recommend it.

Wearing Contacts and Cosmetics

Lots of people choose to wear makeup and contact lenses together. If you are one of them, be sure to discuss your preferences and beauty routines with your eye doctor. Eye care professionals, like many dermatologists, tend to recommend hypoallergenic skin care products for those who wear contact lenses.

Be very careful applying makeup to your eyes and never allow makeup of any kind to come in contact with your lenses. Put in your lenses before you apply makeup and remove them before washing your face. Be sure your hands are clean when inserting or removing your contacts, especially if you have been applying makeup or touching your face. If you wear contacts, never apply makeup to your inner lids, along the inside of your lashes. This could cause irritation, swelling or other complications.

If you experience discomfort, inflammation or irritation, stop using your beauty products immediately and consult a doctor.

Taking care of your contact lenses takes time and practice, but once you get in a routine it will become second nature. We know you can do it.