Millions of people enjoy the benefits of contact lenses every day, but without proper care, your contacts can be the source of painful and sometimes blinding eye infections. You should always follow all instructions from your eye doctor and from the companies who make your contact lenses, solutions, and cases to help keep your eyes healthy and safe.
If you wear contact lenses, here are important tips to help keep your eyes healthy:
- Visit your eye care provider for regular eye examinations.
- Wear and replace contact lenses according to the schedule prescribed by your eye care provider.
- Remove contact lenses before any activity involving contact with water, including showering, using a hot tub, or swimming.
- Wash hands with soap and water and dry before handling contact lenses.
- Clean contact lenses according to instructions from your eye care provider and the manufacturer's guidelines.
- Never reuse or top off old solution. Use fresh cleaning or disinfecting solution each time lenses are cleaned and stored.
- Never use saline solution or rewetting drops to disinfect lenses. Neither solution is an effective or approved disinfectant.
- Be sure to clean, rub, and rinse your lenses each time you remove your lenses. Rubbing and rinsing your contact lenses will aid in removing harmful microbes and residues.
- Store reusable lenses in the proper storage case.
- Storage cases should be rubbed and rinsed with sterile contact lens solution (never use tap water), emptied, and left open to dry after each use.
- Replace storage cases at least once every three months.
Contact lens users with questions regarding which solutions are best for them should consult their eye care providers. They should also consult their eye care providers if they have any of the following symptoms: eye pain or redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, sensation of something in the eye, or excessive tearing.
- CDC, Podcast: Care for Your Contacts: Keeping Eyes Safe
- CDC/Medscape, Video: Shedding New Light on a Potentially Blinding Eye Infection
- CDC, Prevention and Control: Microbial Keratitis, including Acanthamoeba keratitis
- CDC, Vision Health Initiative
- FDA, Consumer Update: Mom, Can I Get Contact Lenses, Please?
- FDA, Contact Lenses
- FDA, Contact Lens Care, Demonstration Video [WMV - 2:12]
- FDA, Ensuring Safe Use of Contact Lens Solution [PDF - 2 pages]
- FDA, Everyday Eye Care
- FDA, Focusing on Contact Lens Safety [PDF - 3 pages]