The 411 on Contact Lens Cleaning Solution

all about contact lens cleaning solution

Contact lens cleaning solution is a must for any contact wearer. That precious bottle of liquid-y goodness is doing all kinds of good for your eye health, whether you know it or not. Curious to know exactly what we’re talking about? Then keep reading. Today we’re covering all things contact lens solution. We bet by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll look at that bottle with a just little more love!

What is the Purpose of Contact Lens Cleaning Solution?

Before dive in too deep, let’s clear up exactly how contact lens cleaning solution is used. One thing to note is that it is a cleaning solution, just like you use to wash your countertops or dishes. While those types of cleaners are completely unsafe for the eyeball, contact lens solutions have been carefully created for eye safety. But in essence, they do the same job; removing germs and other microorganisms that could threaten contamination or infection. This is why it’s so important to always use one—it’s got a serious job to do!

What Functions Does It Serve?

So, how can a cleaner be safe for the eye? To understand this, you need to know what makes up the solution. It’s a combination of cleaners; chemicals that breakdown proteins and microorganisms that may have attached themselves to the lens. They also contact moisturizing agents, which are soothing to the eye. Thirdly, they contain buffers that have a twofold job: keeping the pH of your eyeball healthy and maintaining the shelf life of the product.

For convenience, scientists have managed to create a solution that can do all these jobs in a single product. Twenty years ago that wasn’t the case. Contact lens cleaning required several steps and products. Totally a pain in the kisser. Many wearers skipped steps, which put their eye health at risk. The creation of a multipurpose cleaning solution was warmly received, and is what contact wearers continue to use today. While it’s a fairly new product (less than 20 years old), there’s no doubt it’s made a huge impact for contact wearers. We couldn’t image life without it!

Is Contact Solution Necessary to Use?

We can’t stress enough about the awesome, healthy goodness that comes from using a trusted contact lens solution. For the skeptics out there, it’s definitely not just a ploy to sell more products. Contact lens solution is key to keeping your eye healthy and contacts clean. They’re killing germs and ridding the lens of any other contaminates, while at the same time keeping the contact conditioned so you can get maximum comfort while wearing them.

Can I Make My Own, Homemade Contact Lens Solution?

Some folks have gotten crafty and created their own DIY solutions made at home. The FDA officially released a statement in 2015 advising against this. Trusted brands of contact lens cleaning solutions go through rigorous tests and must meet FDA regulations to prove they are safe for our eyeballs. Most importantly, the final product is guaranteed to be sterile. Homemade solutions can’t make this same guarantee, which makes all the difference. By not using a sterile solution, you are putting yourself at serious risk for an eye infection. We’re fully with the FDA on this one: stay away from a DIY or even an off-brand solution. It’s just not worth the risk!

Important Notes on Contact Solution Use

Another way to avoid eye infections is to make sure you don’t re-use your trusty lens cleaning solution. Once used, it’s come in contact with germs and other random debris (think dust, pollen, pet dander… the list goes on). You don’t want to reuse the solution because you’re essentially introducing the used contact to even more potential contaminates.

And that, my friend, is the 411 on contact lens cleaning solutions. Don’t you practically want to hug that little bottle now that you know how seriously hard it’s working to keep your eyes fresh and healthy!?

Why You Should Consider Hard Contact Lenses

benefits of hard contacts

Hard contact lenses (also called gas permeable lenses) seem to have gotten somewhat of a bad rap over the years, replaced by many contact wearers with the ever-comfortable soft contact lenses. Don’t get us wrong – there’s a lot to love about the watery, silicone smooth fit and feel of soft lenses. But hard contacts shouldn’t be totally discounted, either! In fact, you might want to consider switching over…

Hard Contacts: The Early Years

The first contacts released to the public were hard lenses. These OG lenses were made from a plastic called poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA). Glass-wearers rejoiced over them ‘round the globe, but were soon admitting they weren’t exactly the most comfortable things to wear. That’s because the PMMA completely blocked oxygen from reaching the cornea, which often led to dry eyes. To be fair, eyes weren’t exactly starved for oxygen — these early hard lenses worked by shifting slightly each time the wearer blinked, which allowed oxygen to slip past them.  Soft lenses, on the other hand, are all about promoting moisture and maximum comfort thanks to their water-based technology and thin, bendable shape, all of which allow oxygen to flow easily to the eyeball.

The Benefits of Today’s Hard Contact Lenses

Luckily, hard lenses have come a long way from those of yesteryear. Case in point:

  1. They’re Breathable
    While they’re still rigid, stiff lenses, silicone is now incorporated into them, which allows oxygen to pass through to the eyeball. This is majorly good news for your eye health, and also leads to greater comfort for the wearer.
  2. They’re Durable
    While many folks bemoan the rigid feel and shape of hard contact lenses, they don’t realize that it actually has its benefits. A stiff lens is much more durable than its soft counterpart, which is notorious for ripping and tearing rather easily. This is one reason that soft lenses are made as dailies and monthlies — they’re not exactly made to last for the long haul. Hard lenses, on the other hand, can last for years with proper care and maintenance. And, yes, you read that right: years.
  3. They Can Improve Your Vision
    Something else a lot of people don’t realize is that hard contact lenses can actually improve vision. Their rigid form means they won’t bend each time you blink, which prevents your eye from constantly having to refocus. What’s more, they won’t lose their shape over time. Holding to their unyielding, original design allows for more precise vision every time you wear them. For some, they can also help stop the progression of nearsightedness.
  4. They’re Ideal for Those with Astigmatism & Unusual Shaped Eyes
    Hard lenses are worth checking out for anyone, but especially if you have an unusual eye shape or astigmatism, which is an atypical curvature of the cornea. This is because they can be molded to fit your exact shape, no matter how abnormal it may be. When the custom fit lenses are worn, it’s like you have a perfect eye shape, resulting in optimal, clear vision.

Maintenance of Hard Contact Lenses

Caring for hard contact lenses isn’t necessarily difficult or much different than for soft lenses. They do require cleaners and drops designed specifically for hard lenses, though. These tend to be a bit more expensive; but remember, you’re caring for a pair of lenses that can last months if not years. Overall, you’ll likely end up spending significantly less over time.

It’s worth noting that gas permeable lenses require a certain period of adjustment when new. The stiff lens is almost always noticeable in the eyeball, which can take some getting used to. After this adjustment period ends, most folks are perfectly happy with their lenses. However, if you stop wearing them for a few days, you will go through this again next time you pop them in. This typically isn’t enough to deter people from wearing hard contacts, but it may come as a surprise at first. If you’re aware of it upfront, it’s easier to get through that adjustment period and come to love your hard contacts!

We hope this piece has helped shed some light on hard lenses. They really have a ton of benefits most people aren’t aware of. The next time you’re in the market for a new pair of lenses, don’t be so quick to discount them!

Image courtesy of Niek Beck

What to Do When Your Contact Lens is Stuck Behind Your Eye

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Every contact lens wearer has been there. When that renegade contact seems to up and vanish behind the eye, it’s hard not to freak out. Where the heck did it go? How can something get lost in your eyeball? And what happens next? It is suctioned to a bone? Floating down a channel to your brain? Ugh, gross!

Can a Contact Get Lost in Your Eye?

If you’ve lived to tell the tale, then you probably know that all that freaking out wasn’t really necessary. In fact, a contact lens can never – we repeat, never – get permanently stuck behind your eyeball. Why? Because it is anatomically impossible.

The eyeball is actually connected to the eyelids via a thin mucous membrane called conjunctiva. This moist layer coats the upper and lower eyelid, as well as the entire front of the eyeball. The conjunctiva is completely connected from the eyelids to the eyeball, so there is no stray or open space for anything to slip under.

The conjunctiva helps keep your eyes lubricated and refreshed. But another one of its jobs is to protect the eyeball by stopping anything from slipping behind it. If it can stop microbes from getting behind the eyeball, you better believe it can stop your contacts. Conjunctiva to the rescue!

How Does the Contact Get Stuck?

Okay, so we all understand that a contact can’t get into the back of your eyelid (phew), but it can certainly seem to disappear. What gives?

Unfortunately, your daily contact can dislodge from the cornea. This means it has gotten loose, or perhaps folded in half and is now nowhere to be found. This can be a particular issue with soft contact lenses. It usually happens if you rub your eye, or if something comes into contact with it. Either way, some sort of physical contact has caused the lens to suddenly get outta whack.

If you can’t see the lens but can feel it, chances are that’s it’s become stuck behind your upper or lower eyelid. This is what’s preventing you from seeing it. You can’t exactly peel your eyelid back to scoop it out, after all. So what now?

What to Do to Remove It

The best way to begin tackling a dislodged contact is to give your eye a few squeezes of rewetting eye drops. Give a few more squirts than you ordinarily would, as you want the extra moisture to essentially flood the eyeball and force the contact out of its hiding place.

If, after the drops, your contact still doesn’t slip out, then you’ll want to begin gently massaging your eye ‒ and we do mean GENTLY! It’s important not to use any real force, as this could be dangerous to the eyeball. For starts, it could cause the contact to scratch your cornea, especially if it’s become folded up. A scratch in the cornea is not only irritating and painful, but can make you vulnerable to infections.

So, like we said, be gentle when rubbing. In most cases, the combination of eye drops and a delicate massage will push the contact back to the surface where you can see it.

If you’ve tried these steps and it still won’t come out, give your eye doctor’s office a buzz. They may be able to walk you through the steps to better remove it, or simply have you come into the office for a quick peek.

Meet the Lens Designed to Replace Eye Drops (Nanowafers)

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When you’ve got an eye situation— like an infection, irritation, dry, itchy, red (need we go on?), there is almost nothing quite as soothing as dropping in a few eye drops. When that wet, cool liquid hits your eyeball you can sometimes feel instant relief—at least until it’s time to reapply a few hours later. It’s important that your medicated eye drops work quickly and effectively to reduce whatever is causing the eye issue and get you back to normal—which includes popping in your trusty contacts (which shouldn’t be worn when you’ve got eye trouble).

While eye drops can bring downright joyous relief to irritated eyes, there are actually quite a few issues with their design. For starters, you’ve got to put in several drops just to make sure they get in your actual eyeball. Even then, your eye will naturally start blinking and flushing out the solution, unfortunately causing you to get less than the prescribed dosage. Although, doctors often prescribe a bit more than actually necessary to account for the amount lost naturally during application. It’s a shame, but no real way around it: you’re going to end up wasting a good amount of your eye drops—which is why nanowafers is such an exciting discovery!

What are Nanowafers?

Nanowafers are a brand new invention by a team of doctor/scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. They’ve designed a thin, disc-shaped lens that actually sticks to the eyeball, just like a contact lens does, except these are even smaller. Contact lenses are already pretty small and thin, but these gems are estimated to be about one-twentieth the size of a contact lens.

The trick behind these lenses is that they’re loaded with the medication that would normally be in your eye drops. Instead of having to fuss with drops, these lenses pop right onto your eyeball and slowly dissolve over the course of a few hours or even days. No re-application, no taking it out. Just pop it in and you’ll quickly begin feeling relief that requires no maintenance. In fact, you can totally forget all about them once you’ve got them in place.

Nanowafers are ideal for anyone, but especially helpful for children, who typically hate sitting still to receive eye drops. They’re also helpful for someone who has to apply their eye drops on their own. We can all agree it can be a little tricky adding in your own eye drops. With nanowafers, there’s no waste—or ruined make-up!

In a recent test with nanowafers, they were found to be twice as effective at healing as traditional eye drops. During the experiment, mice with burnt corneas were treated with both nanowafers and good ol’ eye drops—half received the nanowafers, half eye drops. When the study concluded, it was found that mice treated with nanowafers had twice the amount of healing as those with eye drops. Plus, the eye drops had to be applied twice a day, as compared to the once and done nanowafers. Pretty impressive!

How to Put In Contact Lenses with Long Nails

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Having long fingernails is a lot of fun—they look great and you get to go wild with color, design, and even shape! Of course, that extra length on the end of your fingertip can make certain things a little more complicated. Usually, these are everyday things you don’t typically think twice about, like buttoning your pants or putting in your contacts. But with long nails these mundane activities can become a total challenge…at least at first. With a little expertise, you can keep those striking nails. Continue reading this post for some great tips on how to put in contact lenses with long nails!

Most people have success putting in their contact lenses using the tips of their thumb and pointer fingers. But if you have long nails this won’t work! You should never use your finger nails to slide the lens into place because they can easily rip the lens and/or scratch your eyeball. And truthfully, chances are when first trying out the combo of long nails and contact lens, you might ruin a few lens accidentally. Keep this in mind if you don’t wear disposables. And make sure you have at least one pair of back-up lens ready to go in case you do rip or tear a lens while putting it in—and just a friendly reminder, never wear a ripped lens!

With long fingernails, you’ll have to focus much more on using the pads of your fingers instead of the tips. Many people find it is easier to use the pointer and middle finger together (instead of the thumb), in a scissor-like combo. Using each finger to hold one side of the contact, you can gently place it into your eye. A key thing here is to keep your fingers sideways, rather than straight up and down. Straight up and down can all too easily result in you scratching your eyeball, which can be painful (and make you more vulnerable to icky infections).

If you have really long nails, you might be better off sticking with only one finger. To do this, place the contact on the pad of your finger. Carefully lift your finger to your eye, keeping your finger sideways. Roll your eye upward and gently place your finger alongside your eye until the contact touches your eyeball. Once it does, blink a few times to help smooth the contact into place. This can be a little tricky to get the hang of, but if you’ve experienced one inch long fingertips, you’re probably used to awkward workarounds.

No matter which method you use, remember that it’s super important to always wash your hands with (a gentle) soap and water before touching your eyeball. With long nails, this involves an extra step. Nails are unfortunately great at catching all kinds of dirt and grime under them. And just think—the longer they are, the more space for dirt to build up. Invest in a handy nail brush to slide over and under your fingernails each time you wash your hands before touching your contacts. This will help prevent dirt and germs from getting on the contact…and into your eyes! Another important step here is to fully dry your hands before touching your contacts. First, you don’t want tap water to get into your eyeball with your contacts. Also, having wet fingers will make the process much more slippery and difficult.

When trying long nails and contact lenses together, just remember to go slow and be patient. You’ll be a pro in no time!