Wearing contact lenses can be more comfortable if you clean them regularly. Visual acuity is better as well. Cleaning solutions help to remove dirt and protein deposits from the surface of the lens. There are many different multipurpose solutions available on the market that you can use to clean, disinfect and store contact lenses. However, the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center warns against mixing different brands of contact lens solutions as ingredients can vary.
The Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists recommends cleaning and disinfecting contact lenses on a daily basis, as infection is the greatest risk to contact lens wearers. Although eye care specialists may suggest the use of different cleaning solutions for different lenses, hydrogen peroxide is often the main ingredient in many brands. Hydrogen peroxide disinfects lenses by killing bacteria and fungi.
Water is not recommended for cleaning lenses, as the use of water alone does not disinfect the lens. Neither tap water nor distilled water is sterile, and pose a serious risk of infection. A lens cleaned only with water can get contaminated, thereby increasing the risk of eye irritation or infection, which can lead to permanent damage to the eye.
A contact lens cleaning solution may contain a mild abrasive, as well as a detergent or surfactant to clean buildup on the surface of the lens without scratching it. Some cleaning solution products contain tiny silica gel abrasive particles. Removal of protein deposits is a particular concern as these can cause complications such as contact lens-induced papillary conjunctivitis, according to the New England College of Optometry. Enzymatic cleaners are typically recommended to wearers of soft contacts who have problems with protein films on their lenses.
Anti-Fungal and Anti-Bacterial Agents
Boric acid is the active ingredient contained in some brands of multipurpose contact lens cleaning solutions. Like hydrogen peroxide, boric acid is a disinfectant and anti-fungal agent used in contact lens solutions to prevent the growth of microorganisms on the eye. These sterile solutions are often preserved with ascorbic acid or edetate disodium. Ascorbic acid is an effective preservative for protecting against the growth of bacteria and fungi on contact lenses. Edetate disodium is another preservative used to stop the growth of microorganisms.