Saline is not suitable to store contact lenses!

I had a young lady in on Saturday, looking for a contact lens case. She is a student and was home for the weekend, but forgot her case. She had purchased her usual contact lens solution in a nearby pharmacy, but they did not have any contact lens cases.

The solution she had purchased was LensPlus – a bottle of Saline – suitable for rinsing all types of contact lenses. But it is not suitable for storing contact lenses – it has no antimicrobial activity, at all. It is salty water, with a tiny amount of Hydrogen Peroxide, to prevent the solution itself becoming contaminated, but the Peroxide concentration is such that it will not kill bugs on a contact lens, and breaks down rapidly when exposed to light! I advised her that the solution was a bad choice, and that she should return to request a refund, but then she admitted that she had been using that one for ages with her lenses.

I gave her a trial pack of Optifree Puremoist, which has a bottle of correct solution in it, and a case. She was very grateful as “her eyes were killing her”, as she had slept in her lenses.

Daily contact lenses are supplied (Sterile) in salty water, but they are sterile until opened, and (should) only be used once! This student was wearing monthly lenses, which are also sterile until opened. After that first day, they need to be disinfected. Poor advice when she was taught about how to look after her lenses, I guess?

I cannot think of any disinfecting solutions which are supplied without a case these days, so please be aware – if the solution does not come with a new contact lens case in the box, it is likely because the solution is not suitable for storing/disinfecting your contact lenses!

You should¬†probably be using a “multipurpose solution” – suitable to clean, rinse and store (disinfect) the lenses. Her solution was suitable for rinsing only.

Unless you were recommended a different care scheme, such as Hydrogen Peroxide based, which often requires a separate cleaner, and neutralisation before wearing the lenses, either with a different solution in the morning, an added tablet in the evening, or a platinum catalyst in the base of the barrel case, but these are less common these days – I would only recommend these types to people with very “allergic” or sensitive eyes. These solutions often have a red tipped bottle nozzle, to indicate it cannot go into your eyes. I’ve been there, and it SMARTS, more than a little!

Contact lens solutions can be bought in the pharmacy and in the supermarket, but READ THE LABEL, and if you are in any doubt, consult your contact lens specialist?

Best advice I reckon is do not change brands until you check with the optician – the number of people I see who do not know what they are using – “it is a white and blue bottle”, it has a yellow label, it is a square bottle……

Local eyecare for all the family

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