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Which contact lens solution do I need?
Medically reviewed by Sharon Copeland on 11 October 2021
There are a variety of contact lens solutions, including hydrogen peroxide, saline solutions, rigid gas permeable solutions, daily cleaners and multi-purpose solutions. You'll also find that contact lens liquid ingredients vary; many opt for a preservative-free contact lens solution as it is gentle on sensitive eyes, while others are happy with solutions containing preservatives as these last longer. Saline solution is used to rinse lenses and can be used for all types of contact lenses.
All of the above can be worn daily but must be removed at night. They'll then need to be cleaned thoroughly and stored using a contact lens solution. This will ensure they are fresh, clean and hygienic to wear the next morning. Your eyes will be less prone to irritation and infections, and you'll find more comfort in wearing your contact lenses.
If you're a rigid gas permeable contact lens wearer, you can find a range of solutions suited to clean your contacts.
What are multi-purpose contact lens solutions?
Multi-purpose solutions offer an all-in-one product designed to clean, disinfect, rinse, and store your contact lenses.
Most are suitable for all soft contact lenses except for dailies (these are single use lenses); however, there are even multi-purpose contact lens solutions for rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses which offer more convenience than the two-step systems. They should be approved by your optician before use. You should never use soft lens solutions with RGP contact lenses, so make sure to read the bottle first.
Multi-purpose solution is the best solution for those with a hectic, busy lifestyle. After a full day of wear, remove your lenses, cover with multi-purpose solution, and rub gently to loosen any dirt or debris. Once you have done this, you can rinse them again with fresh solution. You can then proceed to fill up your contact lens case with fresh solution and place your lenses inside to store overnight. Never top-up old solution with new. Multi-purpose solution should be used to rinse a contact lens case, NOT tap water. The case should then be left to air dry.
A multi-purpose contact lens solution such as our comfi all-in-one Solution will save you time and effort to ensure that your lenses are clean and clear.
Should you find that your eyes are sensitive and become irritated after using multi-purpose solution, seek advice from your optician on what solution may be a suitable alternative. Regard contact lens solution is a preservative-free multi-purpose solution, great for sensitive eyes.
If you suffer with dry eyes, we recommend choosing a multi-purpose solution that contains hyaluronate. This is a natural lubricant and aids moisture retention in contact lenses. It helps with dryness and the burning sensation that often accompanies it. Contact lens solutions containing hyaluronate make contact lenses more comfortable to wear. Both comfi All-in-One Solution and Hy-Care Lens Solution contain hyaluronate.
What are rigid gas permeable contact lens solutions?
When cleaning rigid and gas permeable contact lenses, you'll need to use a rigid gas permeable contact lens solution.
These contact lens solutions have been specifically designed to clean the surfaces of rigid gas permeable contact lenses. Rigid gas permeable lenses don't feature any water in their design and are predominantly made from silicone. As a result, these lenses require a different type of cleaning solution.
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses require hard contact lens solution for wetting, cleaning and disinfecting. If you wear RGP lenses, the optician will tell you the most suitable care system for your lenses.
Fortunately, you can find a range of RGP solutions tailored to different contact lens cleaning needs.
Best gas permeable contact lens solution
We provide rigid gas permeable contact lens solutions that offer a two-step process for cleaning and neutralising your contact lenses. Our Boston Advance and Total Care solutions are the best for gas permeable contacts. Alternatively, you can find convenient all-in-one contact lens solutions for rigid gas permeable contact lenses such as Boston Simplus.
It is essential to use the correct contact lens cleaning solution to prevent eye irritation. Using the right lens solution will also ensure your lenses provide your eyes with optimal comfort throughout the day.
What are daily cleaners?
Daily cleaners are an excellent choice if you have sensitive eyes and offers a more thorough clean. They are used for cleaning contact lenses only; they will not disinfect your lenses. The cleaner simply removes deposits and debris from the surface of the contact lens while additional products such as multi-purpose solution will be required to rinse, disinfect, and store the contact lenses. To clean your contact lenses with daily cleaner, place a few drops in the palm of your hand and give the contact lenses a gentle rub on both sides for as long as instructed on the cleaner bottle.
Ote Clean is a great daily cleaner suitable for both rigid gas permeable contact lenses and soft contact lenses. Featuring a travel-friendly pack size, great for taking with you on the go. This formula is ideal for those with sensitive eyes and those looking to give their lenses an effective clean.
What are saline solutions?
Saline solutions are gentle, preservative-free contact lens solutions, comprised of a sterile mix of salt and water. These solutions are suitable for rinsing lenses, if using a peroxide system and storing your lenses temporarily (for brief moments only, such as when in the shower). They will wash away any dirt or debris from the surface and rewet your lenses.
Saline solutions can be used with all types of lenses including rigid gas permeable contact lenses. They will give your lenses an effective rinse after using hydrogen peroxide solution and can even be used to rinse and refresh dailies.
Due to their disinfectant-free design, saline solutions are not suitable for cleaning or disinfecting your lenses. Instead, you'll need to use a contact lens solution before using saline. This will ensure that your eyes don't suffer irritation. However, you'll still find saline solution an effective product to use for the final steps of your contact lens cleaning routine.
Saline solution is, therefore, a useful tool in your contact lens cleaning kit. If your contact lens picks up dirt or dust during the day, remove the lens and rinse it saline solution.
Which is the best contact lens solution for sensitive eyes?
Sensitive eyes can experience irritation easily, so it's best to find the right lens care product for you. There are a range of preservative and preservative-free contact lens solutions which can be used for sensitive eyes.
Preservative-free solutions for sensitive eyes
Preservative solutions for sensitive eyes
What are hydrogen peroxide contact lens solutions?
Hydrogen peroxide contact lens solutions typically provide a deeper clean and achieve a higher level of hygiene than other solutions. They are also better suited to sensitive eyes.
These solutions have been designed to take care of cleaning, disinfecting, rinsing and storing all soft contact lenses. Hydrogen peroxide solutions are a lot stronger for disinfecting soft lenses and therefore take longer to work. They don't contain the preservatives often featured in multi-purpose contact lens solutions. This makes them ideal for anyone allergic to preservatives, or those with ultra-sensitive eyes. They will provide comfort to your everyday wearing, and you'll be able to see clearly through your lenses.
Hydrogen peroxide solutions are typically used with soft lenses; however, there are some hydrogen peroxide solutions that can be used with RGP lenses such as AOSEPT (this is stated on the bottle). Before using a hydrogen-peroxide solution, we would recommend speaking to your optician, especially if you have not used them before. They will advise you on the most suitable solution for you.
Hydrogen peroxide solutions come with a special contact lens case, featuring a basket with a catalytic disc to go inside the case. To clean your lenses, place your lens in the basket and rinse with a few drops of solution. This should be done before adding the basket to your solution-filled storage case and leaving it overnight.
Some of these specialised contact lens cases will have a built-in neutraliser (that's the catalyst disc, the grey bit in the bottom of the case). Neutralising the hydrogen peroxide solution ensures your contact lenses are safe to wear and won’t damage your eyes. Doing this also minimises the risk of irritation or discomfort. Solutions such as EasySept and AOsept Plus HydraGlyde offer these specialised contact lens cases with a catalytic disc. The peroxide in these solutions erodes the disc. The disc acts as a catalyst to change the peroxide into gas and air. These bubbles clean the lenses so that you are not required to rub the lenses with a solution like you would with a multi-purpose or all-purpose solution.
Never use new solution with an old case as the disc would have eroded and therefore the peroxide will not be changed into gas and air to give your lenses an effective clean.
Oxysept 1 Step is accompanied by a supply of neutralising tablets to add to the solution-filled case. They work to neutralise your lenses, ensuring they're safe to wear again. Once neutralised, they turn the solution pink.
Does contact lens solution expire?
Yes, contact lens solution always has an expiration date, regardless of whether it's a multi-purpose, saline, hydrogen peroxide or RGP solution.
Using contact lens solution after its expiration date can be hazardous due to contamination. This can lead to a build-up of bacteria or infection, causing irritation to the eye.
You should therefore always check the expiration date when you open your new bottle and know when your current bottle is going to expire.
When opening a new solution, it is advised that you write the date on the packaging so that you can be sure how old the solution is and therefore know when to throw it away.
Some multi-purpose solutions should be thrown away after two months of opening while others should be thrown away after one month.
Most multi-purpose solutions containing no preservatives should be thrown away after one month. However, different makes of solution will offer advice on the bottle regarding how long you keep them for. For example, Regard Contact Lens Solution is a preservative-free multi-purpose solution which can be used for 90 days after opening. Always check the bottle or listen to the advice of your optician regarding when to discard the bottle.
Which contact lens solution can I use to store my extended wear contact lenses?
Extended wear contact lenses need to be removed once a month and cleaned before reinserting. If you don't intend to put them back in right away, you should make sure you store them in a contact lens case filled with fresh solution. Remember to throw away your contact lens case after 1 month and replace it with a new one.
This will help to eliminate any dirt or protein build-up on the lens. It will also rewet and condition your lenses for comfortable wear.
For cleaning and storing extended wear contact lenses, you'll need to use a multi-purpose solution. Before purchasing a multi-purpose solution, speak to your optician to see which one is suitable for you.
Can you put contact lens solution in your eyes?
Some believe that putting contact lens solution in your eyes can eliminate dry eye. Instilling contact lens solution into the eyes can cause corneal toxicity and should be avoided at all costs.
Rather than putting contact solution in your eyes, it is recommended that you use eye drops. Eye drops have been designed to add additional moisture to your eyes and can treat dry eyes as well as other irritations and general discomfort.
Can I carry contact lens solution on a plane?
One of the difficulties of being a contact lens wearer is looking after your lenses when you go on holiday. Contact lens solution is typically sold in larger bottles that don't comply with airport regulations. These regulations state that liquids under 100ml can't be packed into hand luggage.
Fortunately, you can keep up with the same contact lens cleaning routine when you purchase one of our travel packs containing contact lens solution. All under 100ml, these travel packs can provide enough contact lens solution to last you two - three weeks (if used every day) for your holiday. They are often available in multi-packs with contact lens cases provided.
Please note: You should never decant contact lens solution into another bottle for travel as this is not sterile and can lead to eye infections. This is why we recommend you purchase a travel size pack if you’re going away.
Please read our full guide on how to look after your contact lenses on holiday.
Check out our in-depth guide on cleansing your contact lenses to avoid infections and dry eyes.
Please note: always speak to your optician before changing contact lens solutions. They will advise you on the best solution for your eyes and contact lenses.
Quick links:Can I clean my contact lenses in water?
How to clean a contact lens case
How to clean soft contact lenses