When it comes to contacts, it is of utmost importance to practice proper eye hygiene. A study performed by Bausch & Lomb this past summer revealed that an alarming number of individuals are using strange lubricants rather than lens solution to moisten their lenses. Products including baby oil, beer, coke, Vaseline, lemonade, fruit juice, butter and others were all mentioned as occasional substitutes, by twenty percent of the 2,000 adults that responded in the survey conducted in the UK.
Even more of the respondants reported that they have used saliva when inserting their contacts. Considering that the typical adult mouth contains hundreds of different types of germs, this can pose a serious health risk to your eyes. Moreover, far too many people presume that tap water, bottled water or distilled water are a safe alternative for contact lens solution, although even those can contain parasites that can damage the eye and have been linked to Acanthamoeba keratitis, an infection that threatens your eyesight. Even moreso, if you get water in your eyes when swimming or bathing while wearing your contacts, it's recommended to remove your lenses as quickly as you can and thoroughly rinse them so no microorganisms can get stuck to the surface of your eye.
The only fluid that should be used to wash, disinfect, moisten or store your contact lenses is approved contact lens solution. Don't ever store your lenses in water! Leaving your lenses in water does not sterilize them and harmful bacteria can grow on your contacts almost instantly and enter your eyes with the contacts. Further, lens solution is made to match the acidity of your tears and conversely water can cause discomfort or blurred vision since your contacts may stick or lose their shape.
When adequate storage or cleansing is difficult for you, use daily disposable contact lenses rather than lenses that you reuse. Speak to your eye doctor about taking age, lifestyle and level of responsibility into consideration when deciding which contact lens options are best for the members of your family.
Only individuals that are capable of understanding how to properly care for contact lenses and the importance of doing so should use contacts, especially long-term wear contacts. Failure to do so can cause permanent damage to the eyes or even complete vision loss.