Can I store contact lenses in regular tap water?

Contact lenses should not be stored in tap water and should not be rinsed under tap water. Tap water often contains microorganisms that can attach to lenses, causing eye infections.

Research has shown that a creature called Acanthamoeba is sometimes found in tap water. Acanthamoeba is known to cause devastating eye infections that destroy the cornea and sometimes the entire eye. Always use contact lens solution to store your contacts. Put your lenses in a clean lens case and add the soaking and sanitizing solution. Rinse the tank daily with sterile rinse solution and always allow the tank to air dry.

Contact Lens Solutions

Contact lens solutions are liquids used to properly clean contact lenses. There are two types of contact lens care systems: multipurpose contact lens solutions and hydrogen peroxide based care systems. Both systems are used for proper cleaning and storage of contact lenses.

Multipurpose solution

Many contact lens wearers use multipurpose solutions to rinse, disinfect, clean and store their soft lenses. Some people worry that the all-purpose solution won’t effectively disinfect certain types of bacteria on lenses, including Acanthamoeba.

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Hydrogen peroxide system

Some people think that hydrogen peroxide is the best way to disinfect contact lenses. There are two types of hydrogen peroxide systems: “two-step” and “one-step” systems. When using a “two-step” product, the hydrogen peroxide must be rinsed off with saline before wearing the lenses. The “one-step” system allows the hydrogen peroxide to react completely, turning into pure water. These systems do not require rinsing of the lens prior to insertion.

Caring for Contact Lenses

  1. First, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Washing will ensure you don’t transfer dirt and bacteria into your eyes. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel, as fluff can stick to your contacts and get in your eyes.
  2. Clean one lens with contact lens solution to remove any buildup, makeup, and other debris. Dab the lenses in the palm of your hand with a few drops of the solution.
  3. Thoroughly rinse the lens to remove loose debris following the lens solution package directions.
  4. Put the lenses in a clean contact lens case or frame. Fill the container with fresh contact lens solution. The solution will sterilize the lenses so they can be safely worn in your eyes.
  5. Repeat each step with another contact lens.
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what you should know

If you wear contact lenses, please be hygienic. Keeping contacts clean helps protect your eyes from infection. Carefully follow your ophthalmologist’s instructions for disinfecting and maintaining your lenses. Annual eye exams will help make sure your eyes are free of infections.