THE HUBBLE LIBRARY

What Is Contact Solution and How Does it Work?

Wed, September 14th, 2022

Contact lens care is a critical part of wearing contacts. Because the lenses sit directly on the surface of the eye, most types of contacts need to be cleaned daily in order to be worn safely. Cleaning your contacts helps keep bacteria and other microorganisms from infecting the eye.

One of the most important parts of contact lens care is contact lens solution. If you are a contact lens wearer, you’ve likely used contact lens solution before—but do you know what you’re using? Let’s take a closer look at what contact solution is and how it helps keep your contacts clean and safe.

What is Contact Solution

Contact solution is a specially formulated chemical solution designed for cleaning and disinfecting contact lenses. Contact solution helps to remove buildup on the surface of the lens without scratching or damaging it. It also helps to remove microorganisms that, if exposed to the eye, could lead to eye infection. This ensures that, after cleaning, the lenses are clear and safe to wear.

Some people may use the terms contact solution and saline solution interchangeably, but these are not the same. In fact, it’s an important distinction to make—unlike contact solution, saline solution is not designed to clean or disinfect contact lenses. Rather, saline solution can be used to rinse lenses before inserting. It should not be used to clean or store contacts in overnight.

What’s in Contact Solution?

There are many different brands of contact solution available, but in general, most solution contains the same components—and each plays a vital role.

Disinfectant

The most important function of contact lens care is keeping your contacts clean and safe to wear. Therefore, one of the most important elements of contact solution is a disinfectant agent. This helps to rid the lenses of bacteria and other microorganisms that can lead to eye infection. 

Surfactant

It’s not only bacteria that can lead to issues with contact lenses. Buildup of protein and sediment on the lens can lead to discomfort, blurred vision, or other frustrating symptoms. That’s why contact solution contains a surfactant additive. This helps to remove or dissolve buildup without damaging the lens.

Wetting Solution

Most contact lens wearers know the feeling of dry contact lenses. This not only may be uncomfortable, but it may also lead to eye strain. That’s why contact solution contains wetting solution designed to keep lenses moisturized, soft, and comfortable.

Preservative

Preservatives are also added to contact solution to increase its shelf life and ensure it stays working properly over time. Contact lens solution does expire, so be sure to check the date on the bottle if you find a bottle in the back of a cabinet.

What is Contact Solution - 6 Useful Contact Solution Tips Infographic

What to do if You Run Out of Contact Solution

Many contact lens wearers have experienced it: you reach for the bottle of contact solution only to realize it’s empty. You may be tempted to find an alternative—but this can typically do more harm than good.

One such alternative you may come across is DIY solution. While there are some recipes for homemade solution available online or elsewhere, using a DIY solution poses serious risks. Unlike sterile contact solution, making DIY solution introduces additional risk of contaminants entering the solution. Cleaning or soaking contact lenses in a non-sterile, contaminated solution can lead to serious eye health concerns.

Another common idea is using water. This is another highly risky practice. Water won’t clean or disinfect or clean contacts—in fact, microorganisms in the water may attach to the lenses and lead to serious infection or other complications if the lenses are worn.

Therefore, the best thing to do if you run out of solution is throw your contact lenses away. Storing your contacts in water or other solutions won’t clean the lenses and will introduce further risks, and choosing not to clean them at all can greatly increase the chances of eye problems including infection.

Contact Solution Tips

In order to maintain a strong contact care routine, it’s important to follow some best practices when it comes to contact solution.

Keep an Extra Bottle on Hand

To avoid the situation outlined above, it’s best to always keep a spare bottle of contact solution. That way, you can save a pair of contacts if you happen to unexpectedly run out of solution. Consider getting a travel-sized bottle for when you’re on the go and keeping it close by at home in case of emergency.

Always Rub Your Contacts

Some contact solution may be labelled as “no-rub solution.” However, rubbing your contacts as part of the cleaning process is a crucial step in removing buildup from the lens. Therefore, it’s best to always rub the lenses with solution.

Keep Your Solution Clean

Unopened contact solution is sterile—and it’s important to keep it free from contaminants after opening. Always keep the cap closed when not in use and don’t touch the tip to surfaces.

Don’t Re-use Solution

Soaking your contacts in a contact lens case is an essential part of the cleaning process. To ensure best results, change the solution in your case before use. Re-using solution will make the cleaning process less effective and may lead to eye infection.

Don’t Mix Solution

If you have several half-used bottles of contact solution around, it’s best not to mix them together—especially if they’re different brands. Different brands of contact solution may include slightly different ingredients that may not work well with each other.

Even if the brands are the same, opening up the bottle to combine solution could lead to contamination. Therefore, it’s best to keep the solution in its original bottle.

Consult with an Eye Care Professional

There are a variety of contact solution brands to choose from, so if you’re not sure which to go with, it’s best to ask your eye care professional. They can offer guidance on which solution to choose based on the type of contacts you have.

Avoid Cleaning with Daily Contacts

Contact solution—along with a contact lens case—is an essential part of the contact care process. However, not all types of contacts require daily cleaning and care.

Daily contacts take cleaning out of the equation. Rather than being cleaned with solution and soaked, daily contacts are discarded at the end of the day. Each day starts with a new pair, ensuring lenses are clean, effective, and safe.

This can help save time on cleaning each day and eliminates the situation of running out of contact solution. This element of convenience—coupled with the many benefits of daily vs. monthly contacts—has led to daily contacts becoming a very popular choice.

Hubble makes it easy to get started with daily contacts. You can start a contact lens subscription for as little as $1, and your lenses with be shipped to you monthly to ensure you never run out.

Get started with Hubble today to experience the benefits of a fresh pair of contacts every day.

Get your $1 box of Hubble contacts

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