How Do I Prevent Protein Buildup on My Contact Lenses?

Protein buildup is a common problem with soft and hard contact lenses. Buildup can usually be seen in the form of white or cloudy marks on the surface of the contact lens, which causes blurred vision and discomfort. With proper care and use of contact lenses, protein buildup can be controlled.

A woman holding out her contact lenses. Credit: leaf/iStock/Getty Images

Actively Cleanse Contacts With Saline Solution

Even though most soft contact solutions advertise a no-rub formula, contacts that are prone to protein buildup require active rubbing. After removing each contact lens, place it in the palm of your hand and fill it will a saline solution purchased specially for lenses. Rub the contact lens on each side for five to 10 seconds and place it in a contact lens case with fresh saline solution. When cleaning the lenses before insertion, also use fresh solution.

Use Eyedrops Daily

Eyedrops are not solely for remoisturizing contacts; they are also used to clean them during daily use. Eyedrops made for contact lenses remove protein buildup and keep your lenses sanitary through prolonged use.

Change Contacts Regularly

Most soft contact lenses are suggested for daily, biweekly or monthly use. For lens users having constant and repeated trouble with protein deposits, daily lenses may be a solution. Before changing your contact brand, though, ensure you are complying with suggested use time frames. The longer lenses are used, the greater the risk of protein buildup and infections to the cornea, which can permanently damage eye tissue.

Consider Hydrogen Solutions

For those still not seeing the full effects of saline solution, hydrogen solutions are available to provide a more thorough cleanse. These products provide a specialty case that includes a platinum coating, helping to break down the hydrogen molecules so you can then place the contacts in your eyes without burning them. This active cleanse needs to take place over at least six hours, according to most manufacturers, but it offers a micro-filtered comfort level not found with saline solutions.

Eliminate Potential Debris

Makeup and hair products can fall into the eye and coat the contact lens with a substance that may cause blurry vision or allow protein to accumulate quicker. To reduce this risk, apply makeup and hair product before lenses are inserted. Since hairspray may remain in the air longer, spray it in a different room than you will be inserting your contacts. After removing your contacts, wash all makeup off thoroughly so that particles do not gather in the creases of the eye overnight.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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