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Ensuring Safe Use of Contact Lens Solution

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Finally, a strong stream of the contact lens multipurpose solution is sprayed over both sides of the lens to remove any debris attached to the lens. Research has shown that this procedure helps remove more bacteria, protein, and other deposits from the surface of the lens.

This may contribute to better lens hygiene and safety. "The rub and rinse method is based on the same concept of hand washing," Lepri says. "You get more dirt off of your hands by rubbing them with soap and then rinsing, rather than merely just rinsing."

About Eye Infections

Failure to use contact lenses and solution correctly can result in eye infections. Both bacterial and fungal infections can lead to serious consequences such as permanent loss of sight if left untreated.

Bacterial infections are more common than fungal infections. Characterized by severe pain, fungal infections are much more difficult to diagnose and treat. "Fungal infections are much more dangerous because they slowly proliferate within the cornea and are highly resistant to treatment," Lepri says. "When a fungal infection occurs, it results in a corneal ulcer, which can lead to permanent blindness. Bacterial infections such as Pseudomonas are extremely rapid, result in corneal ulcers, and cause blindness--sometimes within as little as 24 hours if not diagnosed and treated promptly."

The symptoms of an eye infection are: discomfort, excess tearing or other discharge, unusual sensitivity to light, itching, burning, or gritty feelings, unusual redness of the eyes, blurred vision, swelling, and pain.

How can you tell if you have an infection or if you are suffering from allergies? Typically, the major difference between infection and allergy is that allergy is accompanied by itching and watery discharge and will affect both eyes relatively the same.

Infection presents with severe pain, redness, mucus discharge, and blurred vision, and often affects one eye only. The best way to determine whether your symptoms are due to an infection or allergies is to consult your eye care professional as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms.

Dos and Don'ts for Contact Lens Wearers

DO:

  • Always wash your hands before handling contact lenses to reduce the chance of getting an infection.
  • Remove the lenses immediately and consult your eye care professional if your eyes become red, irritated, or your vision changes.
  • Always follow the directions of your eye care professional and all labeling instruction for proper use of contact lenses and lens care products.
  • Use contact lens products and solutions recommended by your eye care professional.
  • Rub and rinse your contact lenses as directed by your eye care professional.
  • Clean and disinfect your lenses properly following all labeling instructions provided with your lens care products.
  • Clean, rinse, and air dry your lens case each time lenses are removed. You may want to flip over your lens case while air drying so that excess solution can drain out of the case. Contact lens cases can be a source of bacterial growth.
  • Replace your contact lens storage case every 3-6 months.

WebMD Public Information from the FDA