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10 Tips for Contact Lens Care and Maintaining Healthy Eyes

Written by Andrew Le, MD

UpdatedMarch 14, 2024

Contact lens care is essential to prevent eye infections caused by contact lenses. Taking care of contact lenses might seem easy, but many people fail to observe proper hygiene practices. In a study regarding contact lens care, 85% of the people surveyed believed they complied with adequate lens care practices. However, it was found that only 2% did so.

This article will discuss ten tips for contact lens care, including regular eye cleaning and hygiene, choosing the right solution, following replacement schedules, and proper storage. These tips will guide you in maintaining healthy eyes while ensuring comfortable wear.

🔑Key Takeaways

  • Eye irritations and infections are common in people who do not clean and maintain their contact lenses properly. Individuals must ensure consistent cleaning of lenses using proper solutions to avoid issues related to poorly maintained lenses.
  • Individuals must use the right lens solution as recommended by their eye specialist for their lens type to ensure effective disinfection and maintenance of lens quality.
  • Individuals should replace their contact lenses according to the prescribed schedule (daily, weekly, monthly) to maintain optimal eye health and prevent potential eye problems.
  • Contact lenses should only be worn overnight if they are specially designed for extended wear to avoid the increased risk of eye infections related to prolonged use.
  • Reducing the chances of bacterial contamination involves avoiding swimming in pools or lakes and showering with contact lenses, as water can harbor harmful bacteria that can infiltrate the contact lens.
  • Individuals should always be cautious and lookout for any signs of eye irritation or infection, such as redness, discomfort, or blurred vision, and seek immediate help from an eye specialist if symptoms occur.
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Potential Consequences of Improper Contact Lens Care

Around 40-90% of individuals who wear contact lenses do not correctly follow the proper care guidelines for their lenses. Neglecting proper contact lens care can expose individuals to severe consequences and risks that significantly threaten their eyes and vision. Failure to adhere to clean and hygienic practices can lead to consequences and dangers like:

  • Accumulation of bacteria, fungi, and allergens: Lenses that are not regularly cleaned or replaced are a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms that can cause eye infections.
  • Open sores or corneal ulcers: Dirty lenses can harbor bacteria and amoebas that can cause sores and ulcers that can potentially result in vision impairments.
  • Scratched cornea: Small impurities like dust can accumulate in dirty contact lenses, causing the cornea to get scratched.
  • Dry eyes: Failing to care for contact lenses properly can reduce their ability to retain moisture, resulting in dry and irritated eyes.

Individuals should always prioritize their health by following the proper guidelines in caring for contact lenses. It will reduce the chance of risk and prevent the consequences one may experience from failing to observe proper contact lens care.

10 Tips for Contact Lens Care

With contact lens care, it is essential to follow strict hygienic practices such as regular cleaning, monitoring symptoms of possible eye infections, and removing the lenses before going to sleep. All of these are important to ensure optimal eye health and help the lenses maintain good quality.

Below are ten tips for contact lens care and maintaining healthy eyes.

1. Regular Cleaning and Hygiene

The first step in contact lens care is regular lens cleaning. Knowledge about proper cleaning practices will prevent eye irritation, allergic reactions, and severe eye conditions. It is also the best way to keep your lenses from ripping and getting contaminated with bacteria.

Below are the steps to keep your contact lenses clean and disinfected:

  • Step 1: Wash hands with soap and water, then dry them with a clean towel.
  • Step 2: Replace the solution inside the container of the contact lenses with a fresh new solution.
  • Step 3: Remove contact lenses from the eyes, then place them on the palm.
  • Step 4: Add a few drops of solution to the lens. Rub the contact lenses using the index finger; avoid touching them with the nails. After rubbing, rinse them with a fresh new solution.
  • Step 5: After rinsing the contact lenses, put them back in their case and let them soak in the solution overnight.

The “rub and rinse” technique is the best way to clean contact lenses. It makes sure that there is no debris or dirt left. Always incorporate this technique when cleaning contact lenses.

2. Use the Right Lens Solution

Contact lenses must be cleaned with the lens solution after every use. The solution cleanses the lens by removing the debris and dirt, keeping them clean and safe. Two common types of contact lens solutions are widely used:

  1. Multipurpose solution: This is the most used solution among the two types. It is affordable and convenient and can quickly clean and disinfect contact lenses. Marketed as the “no-rub” solution, experts still advise users to rub their lenses to ensure they are thoroughly clean.
  2. Hydrogen peroxide-lens solution: This solution requires more time to clean the lenses thoroughly but does a great job of disinfecting them. It is preservative-free and is suitable for those allergic or sensitive to chemicals. The solution must be neutralized from hydrogen peroxide to plain saline to avoid stinging and burning in the eye. Some hydrogen peroxide solutions have a built-in neutralizer (one-step product). Some need a neutralizing tablet (two-step product). The eyes will be harmed if the solution is not neutralized.

Individuals with allergies or sensitivities to chemicals in contact lens solutions might experience symptoms like redness, eye pain, and excessive tearing. These can be signs of contact lens-related infections. Individuals who encounter these symptoms must be checked by an eye specialist immediately.

See prices for Multipurpose Contact Lens Solution on Amazon
See prices for Hydrogen Peroxide Lens Solution on Amazon


Do not use tap water to rinse contact lenses, as it can harbor microorganisms harmful to the eye. Instead, always use sterile saline or lens solution.

3. Follow the Replacement Schedule

Different contact lenses have different replacement schedules. Replacement schedules refer to the maximum time a contact lens can be used before it gets discarded and replaced.

Below are the different types of contact lenses and their replacement schedules:

Extended-wear Contacts

Extended-wear contact lenses can be used for a week without removal; they are suitable for overnight wear. This allows the individual to sleep with their contact lenses in, without the risk of eye irritation or complications.

Daily-wear Contacts

Daily-wear contacts are worn after waking up and removed before sleeping. Depending on the material used to design the lenses, their replacement schedule can be daily, two weeks (replaced every two weeks), or monthly (replaced every month).

Monthly Replacement

These are contact lenses designed for monthly replacement. However, the contact lenses must be cleaned and disinfected every night before use the following morning.

2-week Replacement

These contact lenses are replaced every two weeks. They must be removed before sleeping and cleansed and disinfected daily.

Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

Not to be confused with daily wear contacts, daily disposable contact lenses are designed to be worn once and thrown out after use.

Proclear® 1 Day Multifocal (Daily Disposable Contact Lenses)
ACUVUE® 2 (2-week Replacement Contacts)
Purevision2 (Monthly Replacement Contacts)

4. Proper Storage and Care for Lenses and Lens Cases

It's essential to store contact lenses in their case after each use. The case is essential to lens care, as it maintains the lenses in a solution that prevents them from drying out. Soaking keeps the lenses moist and helps eliminate dirt and bacteria that cleaning alone cannot remove.

It is also important to remember that the lens cases must be taken care of to maintain their quality and effectiveness. According to the American Optometric Association, contact lens cases should be replaced at least every three months.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to store the lenses properly and care for the lens case:

  • Step 1: Users should first empty the lens case, removing the old solution. The case is then rinsed with a fresh contact lens solution to remove any residual lens solution and debris. Avoid using tap water to help prevent contamination with microorganisms.
  • Step 2: The lens case is left open to air-dry upside down on a clean tissue or towel. It's important to place the case in a hygienic, well-ventilated area to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Step 3: Before storing the lenses in the case, each compartment of the lens case is filled with fresh contact lens solution. Reusing old solutions should be avoided as this can lead to eye infections.
  • Step 4: Each contact lens is then placed in the correct compartment of the case and ensured to be fully submerged in the solution. The case is closed tightly to avoid leaks and contamination.
  • Step 5: The lens case is stored in a clean, dry location. Humid environments like bathrooms are avoided, as moisture can encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • Step 6: Lens cases are replaced every three months or as recommended by an eye care provider.

Following these steps can significantly reduce the risk of eye infections and ensure your lenses are clean, safe and ready for use.

5. Avoid Sleeping in Lenses

A common neglect in contact lens care is the failure to remove the lenses before sleeping. According to a report, 50% of contact users in the US sleep with their contacts in. Many contact lenses are designed to be worn when awake. Wearing them to bed, unless specifically designed for overnight use, can cause discomfort and increase the risk of eye infections.

Sleeping with contact lenses in reduces oxygen flow to the cornea and potentially damages its surface. This damage hinders cell regeneration, creating an environment where bacteria can thrive and cause infections.

Individuals must remove their contact lenses before going to sleep, clean them thoroughly, and keep them in their cases overnight to wear the next day. It’s important to remember this applies to all contact lenses that are not specified as extended-wear contacts. Whether soft, hard, decorative, or custom-made, if they are not extended-wear lenses, they should be removed before sleep.

6. Minimize Contact with Water

Water contains bacteria, especially in lakes, rivers, ponds, and oceans. Although pools may contain chlorine that fights off bacteria, it doesn't remove everything. Swimming and showering with contact lenses puts the individual at risk of Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare but serious eye infection caused by the amoeba Acanthamoeba that causes severe pain and potential vision loss. 85% of acanthamoeba keratitis cases are from contact lens wearers.

Hence, individuals wearing contact lenses should minimize exposure to water to prevent eye infections and other eye problems. Individuals can minimize water contact by wearing goggles or removing contact lenses when swimming. Removing contact lenses also applies when showering or bathing.

7. Be Mindful of Lens Water Content

Understanding the water content in contact lenses is crucial for finding the right fit for comfort. The water content of a lens, typically expressed as a percentage, indicates how much water is in the lens.

Lenses with water content vary for different people. It all depends on what the individual needs. Water content is usually available in three categories:

  1. Low water content contains less than 40% water.
  2. Medium water content contains 50% to 60% water.
  3. High water content contains more than 60% water.

The water content of contact lenses directly affects the lens’s oxygen permeability and overall comfort. Lenses with high water content are generally thicker, while those with lower levels are thinner but are more commonly used.

It is not ideal for individuals with dry eyes to wear lenses with high water content as it can absorb the eyes' moisture, making them more prone to drying. It is important to consult with an eye specialist to know the water content level of the lens that fits the individual’s needs.

8. Monitor for Signs of Eye Irritation

Keratitis is the most common eye infection linked to wearing contact lenses. Contact lens wearers are responsible for 52–65% of new cases of microbial keratitis. Keratitis occurs when the cornea — the clear, dome-shaped front part of the eye — gets infected. Common causes include sleeping with contact lenses in, not cleaning the lenses or their case correctly, and wearing lenses for too long. Being aware of these risks can help prevent contact lens-related infections.

Below are signs to watch out for contact lens-related infection:


Always apply makeup after inserting contact lenses to prevent cosmetic particles from getting trapped under the lens.

9. Regular Eye Examinations

Regular eye exams are critical for overall eye care. While many individuals wait until their 40s for their first eye check-up, experts recommend starting eye examinations at a younger age. These exams are essential for detecting any signs of eye complications or vision loss. They also assess the functioning of the eye muscles and determine if any treatments are necessary.

For those wearing contact lenses, eye examinations can help in the following:

  • Ensuring the lens strength is appropriate for optimal vision correction
  • Determining the best type of contact lens and ensuring proper fit
  • Inspecting the cornea for any evidence of injury or infection
  • Discussing the appropriate lens solution and reviewing lens care guidelines.

10. Pay Attention to Eye Comfort

According to a study, 15% of the population wear contact lenses, but many give up too soon due to the discomfort. While there are various reasons why a person feels discomfort when wearing contact lenses, many of them can be efficiently solved.

One common source of discomfort is wearing contact lenses that aren't correctly fitted. If the lenses are too loose, they can rub against the eye, leading to irritation or allergic reactions.

Switching from generic to custom contact lenses is a highly effective solution to this problem. Although more costly initially, their benefits often justify the investment in custom lenses. Custom lenses are designed to fit the wearer's eyes perfectly, using breathable materials that allow oxygen to reach the cornea, ensuring greater comfort.

Final Thoughts

Proper eye hygiene is essential to prevent severe eye conditions and ensure optimal eye health. Ignoring these practices can result in discomfort, irritation, and a heightened risk of infections. Always use the 'rub and rinse' method when cleaning contact lenses.

By practicing proper contact lens care, individuals can maximize the benefits of their contact lenses while reducing associated risks. The ten tips in this article offer a straightforward and effective guide to maintaining eye health and ensuring the longevity of contact lenses.

FAQs for Contact Lens Care

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Find the cheapest contacts, eyeglasses, and vision insurance plans @Lensabl
Illustration of a healthcare provider asking questions on a smart phone.
  • Lens replacements starting at $77
  • Frames starting at $97
  • Checkmark Inside Circle.Low prices on all of your favorite brands like Acuvue, DAILIES, AirOptix and more
Learn more about Lensabl

Can contact lenses get lost behind the eyes?

No. At worst, you might have trouble finding it under your upper eyelid if you rub your eye and dislodge the lens from its proper position. Your doctor can help you find and remove the lens if necessary. Contact lenses getting lost usually happens with improper contact lens care, like sleeping without removing your lenses.

Can hydrogen-peroxide solution make you blind?

No. But, improper contact lens care with hydrogen peroxide can damage your eyes, leading to vision loss. Hence, it's important to neutralize the solution using a neutralizer after cleaning.

Can I use a saline solution instead of a dedicated contact lens solution?

Primarily use saline solution in contact lens care for rinsing, not disinfecting. Always use a multi-purpose solution containing disinfecting agents to clean and kill bacteria on your lenses properly.

Can I wear makeup with contact lenses?

While it is generally safe, avoid applying mascara or eyeliner close to your lash line while wearing lenses. Use oil-free and hypoallergenic makeup and remove it gently before taking out your lenses. Always insert contact lenses before applying makeup.