Water, even clean sterile water, can lead to problems when put into contact with lenses. Contact lens wearers often assume that because water is clean enough to drink, it is safe to use with lenses, but that is not the case.
Can you put contacts in water temporarily?
No, you should never store your contact lenses in water. The UK have some of the highest standards for safe, drinkable and purified water, but tap water still contains microorganisms and bacteria that can lead to eye infections. Although rare, there is a risk of contracting infections such as Acanthamoeba Keratitis from swimming, bathing or showering in contact lenses.
Water is also not a disinfectant. It will not appropriately clean your contact lenses. It is also not appropriate to use water as a wetting or storing agent either. Letting your contact lenses sit in water overnight may give room for bacteria and other contaminating pathogens to multiply on your lenses. If you then put these lenses into your eye it may transfer bacteria into your eye. The same applies to bottled drinking water, this should not be used to store or clean contact lenses either.
It is generally recommended that you do not wear contact lenses when you swim, although, as a general precaution to protect your eyes, you should at least wear waterproof googles when swimming. It is also advised that you wear daily disposables and change them after you have swum if your goggles flood. Alternatively, you can get prescription goggles, though these are more expensive.
Water does not match the acidity of your tears and you will likely find that your lenses will lose shape and your vision may become blurry when wearing your lenses. Proper solution does more than just disinfect, it also removes dirt and deposits that affect the clarity of your lenses.
Can I still use my contacts if they dry out?
A common question asked by contact lens wearers is if they can salvage their lenses if they have dried out. It is generally recommended that you avoid such a situation in the first place.
If you wear two-weekly, monthly, or yearly lenses, it is understandable that you may want to rescue a dried-out lens as they are more expensive to replace compared to daily disposables. Overall, the cost of a new lens is far less than putting your eyes at risk and using a potentially faulty lens, so regardless of the cost, it is always recommended to just wear a new lens.
Dry Contact lens Fix
If you are absolutely going to try and salvage a dried-out lens, it is important to remember the following:
- Dried lenses will be incredibly brittle, delicate and will break easily, avoid trying to handle them straight away
- Check for and initial cracks and chips
- You must put your lenses in a disinfectant solution before putting them into your eye. Soak them for 24 hours before inserting them into your eyes
- If you experience any discomfort or blurry vision, you should dispose of your lenses straight after
- You may find that your lenses, even after they have been soaked over night are disfigured, if this is the case, dispose of them immediately and do not attempt to wear them
If you feel that a daily cleaning routine is too troublesome for you, we recommend switching to daily contact lenses, this will eliminate the situation where you may end up with a dried-out lens
Can you put daily contacts in solution for a few hours?
Depending on the brand and manufacturer, daily lenses can be put in solution for a few hours. You definitely don’t have to wear your daily contact lenses for the entire day. Some people like to take their contacts out once they’re back home and switch to wearing glasses.
If you want to take your lenses out temporarily and then put them back in (if you went swimming, for example) then you’ll need a contact lens solution and lens case to store them in. A travel pack size may be the most cost-effective option. It is best to purchase a multi-purpose solution like comfi All-In-One solution. The lenses should not sit in saline solution. If your contact lenses are feeling a little dry, re-wetting them with a multi-purpose solution can also help.