Contact Lens Care 101: Tips for Healthy Lens Wear

In this article, we will explore the different types of contact lenses, their care requirements, proper hygiene, tips for putting in and removing lenses, understanding contact lens solutions, and how long can contacts stay in solution. We will also discuss how to clean monthly contact lenses, long-term care tips, and common mistakes to avoid.

Introduction to Contact Lens Care


Contact lenses have become increasingly popular over the years, offering a convenient and versatile alternative to traditional eyeglasses. However, proper care and maintenance of contact lenses are crucial to ensure that they remain comfortable, effective, and safe to wear. Inadequate care can lead to various eye health issues, such as infections and irritations.

An important part of contact lens care involves understanding the specific requirements of the lenses you're using. Different types of lenses have different care instructions, which is why it's essential to familiarize yourself with the manufacturer's guidelines for your particular lenses. Additionally, maintaining good hygiene practices, using the appropriate cleaning solutions, and following proper techniques for handling your lenses can help prevent complications and keep your eyes healthy.

Types of Contact Lenses and Their Care Requirements


There are several types of contact lenses available on the market, each with its own set of care requirements. Some of the most common types include:

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses are made from flexible, water-absorbing materials that conform to the shape of your eye. These lenses are generally more comfortable and easier to adapt to than rigid lenses. The care requirements for soft lenses include daily cleaning, rinsing, and disinfecting. It's essential to use the recommended contact lens solutions and follow the manufacturer's guidelines for proper care.

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses

RGP lenses are made from a more rigid material that allows oxygen to pass through, providing clearer vision and increased durability. These lenses require a bit more care and maintenance than soft lenses. They must be cleaned, rinsed, and disinfected daily, and they should be stored in a clean case filled with fresh solution. Additionally, RGP lenses may need to be conditioned with a wetting agent to enhance comfort and prevent protein deposits.

Daily Disposable Lenses

Daily disposable lenses are designed to be worn for a single day and then discarded, eliminating the need for cleaning and disinfecting. These lenses are a convenient option for those who prefer minimal maintenance or have allergies that may be exacerbated by lens care solutions. However, it's still crucial to practice proper hygiene when handling daily disposables, such as washing and drying your hands before touching the lenses.

Proper Contact Lens Hygiene

Good hygiene is crucial to maintaining healthy eyes and preventing infections while wearing contact lenses. Here are some essential steps to follow:


Wash and Dry Your Hands

Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling your contact lenses. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel to avoid transferring any debris or bacteria to your lenses.


Clean Your Contact Lens Case

Regularly clean your contact lens case with a clean toothbrush and contact lens solution, then rinse it with fresh solution and allow it to air dry. Replace your case every three months to minimize the risk of contamination.

Don't Sleep in Your Contact Lenses

Unless specifically prescribed for overnight wear, avoid sleeping in your contact lenses. Wearing lenses overnight can deprive your eyes of oxygen and increase the risk of infection.


Tips for Putting In and Removing Contact Lenses

Proper technique for inserting and removing contact lenses is essential to ensure comfort and safety. Here are some tips to help you master the process:


Putting In Contact Lenses

1.        Start by washing and drying your hands thoroughly.

2.        Remove the lens from its case or packaging and inspect it for any debris or damage.

3.        Place the lens on the tip of your index finger, ensuring that it forms a cup shape with the edges facing upward.

4.        Use your other hand to hold your upper eyelid open, preventing any blinking.

5.        Use the index finger of the same hand to pull down your lower eyelid.

6.        Look upward and carefully place the lens on the white part of your eye.

7.        Slowly release your eyelids and blink to help the lens settle in place.


Removing Contact Lenses

1.        Again, begin by washing and drying your hands thoroughly.

2.        Look upward and use your index finger to pull down your lower eyelid.

3.        Bring your thumb and index finger together and gently pinch the edge of the lens to lift it off your eye.

4.        Carefully remove the lens and proceed with cleaning and disinfecting (if not using daily disposables).


Understanding Contact Lens Solutions

Different types of contact lenses require specific cleaning and disinfecting solutions to ensure proper care. Using the wrong solution can damage your lenses or irritate your eyes. It's essential to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for the correct solution for your lenses.

Multipurpose Solutions

Multipurpose solutions are designed to clean, rinse, and disinfect your contact lenses in one easy step. To use a multipurpose solution, simply rub your lenses gently with the solution and then rinse them before placing them in a case with fresh solution.

Hydrogen Peroxide Solutions

Hydrogen peroxide solutions are highly effective at cleaning and disinfecting contact lenses. However, they require a bit more care in their use, as direct contact with your eyes can irritate them. To use hydrogen peroxide solution, follow the manufacturer's guidelines, which typically involve a special case with a built-in neutralizer to convert the peroxide to a saline solution.

Saline Solutions

Saline solutions are used primarily to rinse contact lenses after cleaning and disinfecting. They should not be used as a substitute for proper cleaning and disinfecting solutions.


How Long Can Contacts Stay in Solution?

The length of time that contacts can stay in solution varies depending on the type of lenses and solution being used. In general, it's best to follow the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure proper lens care. However, if you're uncertain or cannot find specific information, a good rule of thumb is to replace the solution in your lens case every 24 hours, even if you haven't worn the lenses. Additionally, if your lenses have been in solution for an extended period (such as a week or more), it's best to clean and disinfect them again before wearing them.


How to Clean Monthly Contact Lenses

Monthly contact lenses require regular cleaning and disinfecting to maintain their effectiveness and prevent the buildup of proteins, lipids, and other debris. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to clean your monthly contact lenses:

1.        Begin by washing and drying your hands thoroughly.

2.        Remove one lens from your eye and place it in the palm of your hand.

3.        Apply a few drops of the recommended cleaning solution to the lens.

4.        Gently rub the lens in a circular motion with your index finger to remove any debris.

5.        Rinse the lens thoroughly with saline or multipurpose solution.

6.        Place the lens in a clean contact lens case and cover it with fresh solution.

7.        Repeat the process with the other lens.

8.        Allow the lenses to soak in the solution for the recommended amount of time (usually at least six hours or overnight) before wearing them again.


It's important to note that monthly lenses should be replaced every 30 days, even if they still appear to be in good condition. Using lenses beyond their recommended wear time can increase the risk of eye infections and other complications.


Tips for Long-Term Contact Lens Wear and Care

If you plan on wearing contact lenses for an extended period, such as a year or more, there are a few additional steps you can take to maintain healthy eyes and prolong the life of your lenses.


Schedule Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are essential to ensure your eyes remain healthy and that your contact lenses are still the best option for your vision needs. Your eye doctor can also identify any potential issues early on and provide guidance on proper lens care.


Take Breaks from Your Lenses

Extended periods of contact lens wear can cause dryness, irritation, and other issues. Taking breaks from your lenses, such as wearing glasses for a day or two each week, can help prevent these problems.


Keep Your Lenses Clean

Regular cleaning and disinfecting are crucial for long-term contact lens wear. Additionally, using a protein remover once a week can help prevent the buildup of debris on your lenses.


Common Contact Lens Care Mistakes to Avoid

Even with the best intentions, it's easy to make mistakes when caring for your contact lenses. Here are some common mistakes to be aware of:


Sleeping in Your Lenses

As previously mentioned, sleeping in your contact lenses can increase the risk of eye infections and other complications. Unless specifically prescribed for overnight wear, always remove your lenses before going to bed.


Using Tap Water or Saliva to Clean Your Lenses

Tap water and saliva can contain harmful bacteria that can cause infections and other issues. Always use the recommended cleaning and disinfecting solution for your lenses.


Reusing Old Solution

Using old or expired solution can reduce its effectiveness, making it less effective at cleaning and disinfecting your lenses. Always use fresh solutions each time you store your lenses.



Proper care and maintenance of your contact lenses are crucial for maintaining healthy eyes and ensuring that your lenses remain comfortable and effective. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, you can help prevent eye infections, irritation, and other complications. Remember to always follow the manufacturer's guidelines for your specific lenses and to schedule regular eye exams to ensure your eyes remain healthy. With proper care and attention, your contact lenses can provide a convenient and effective way to correct your vision for years to come.

For more on contact lens care, visit Magic City Eyecare in Vestavia Hills, AL. Please call (205) 506-2200 to schedule an appointment today.