Hard Contact Lens Care
There are three steps to cleaning your hard contact lenses (also known as “rigid contact lenses” or “gas permeable lenses”): cleaning, disinfecting and storing. You will also need to periodically remove protein build-up from your lenses using an enzymatic cleaner.
You will need two different solutions for the basic three steps: one for cleaning and disinfecting and one for storing.
Start the cleaning process by washing your hands and drying them on a lint-free towel. Remove the first lens and cup it in the palm of your hand. (Many people find it helpful to start with the same contact lens, either the right or the left, each time.) Pour enough cleaning and disinfecting solution into your palm to partially submerge the lens. Rub the lens around in the solution for about 30 seconds or until the lens appears completely clear. Rinse the lens by running a small stream of cleaning and disinfecting solution over the lens. Place the lens in a storage case and fill the storage case with the storage solution.
The lens cases themselves also need frequent cleaning. After each use, rinse and air-dry your case. Some practitioners recommend using your cleaning and disinfecting solution for this, not water.
You will also need to remove protein deposits from your lenses using an enzyme solution. To do this, you should put a drop of enzyme solution in each case after both lenses have been thoroughly cleaned. Let the lenses rest in the enzyme solution overnight with their storage solution. Different doctors may recommend that you do this on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
To keep your eyes and contact lenses at their best, you should follow a few extra precautionary tips. First, do not sleep in your contact lenses, even to take a short nap. Sleeping in contact lenses prevents your eyes from receiving the oxygen they need. Wait to put on makeup, hand lotion or aftershave until after you have put in your contacts. Do not trade contacts with anyone and do not wash your contacts with tap or distilled water. Remove your contacts before swimming and try not to expose yourself to too much air pollution, smog and dust. Finally, be aware that there are eye drops (sometimes called “artificial tears”) for those whose eyes dry out when using contacts.