Research conducted by Bausch & Lomb this past summer determined that a large number of individuals were using potentially harmful lubricants instead of contact lens solution to moisten their lenses. Products including baby oil, beer, coke, Vaseline, fruit juices, butter and others were all mentioned as alternatives used, by one eighth of the 2,000 adults that responded in the UK.
A larger number of those surveyed reported that they use saliva when inserting their contacts. Considering we know that the average adult mouth is known to house hundreds of varieties of bacteria, this is clearly not a good idea. Additionally, an alarming number of people believe that tap water, bottled water or distilled water are a safe substitute for contact lens solution, but even pure bottled water or distilled water can contain microorganisms that can cause damage to the eye and have been linked to Acanthamoeba keratitis, an infection that threatens your eyesight. In fact, if water enters your eyes when swimming or bathing while your contacts are in, it's a good idea to remove your lenses as soon as possible and disinfect them so no microorganisms can get stuck to the surface of your eye.
The only fluid that you should use to rinse, sterilize, lubricate or store your contacts is approved contact lens solution. Don't ever keep your lenses in water! Storing your contacts in water does not sterilize them and dangerous fungi can multiply on your contacts in minutes and eventually enter your eyes. Further, contact solution is made to match the saltiness of the tear film in your eyes and conversely water can cause a reaction which makes your contacts change shape or stick causing discomfort and blurred vision.
At times that you know that you do not have the means to properly disinfect your lenses, definitely try to use one-use contacts rather than lenses that you reuse. Be sure to think about daily routine when you are choosing which type of contacts to purchase.
Only individuals that are capable of understanding the proper way to care for contacts and how important this is should use contact lenses, especially reusable brands. Failure to do so can lead to irreversible damage to the eyes, loss of sight and even total blindness!
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