Contact lens wearers know the importance of proper eye care. A study performed by Bausch & Lomb this past August revealed that a large number of people were using potentially harmful chemicals in place of contact solution to clean their lenses. Substances including baby oil, beer, coke, Vaseline, lemonade, fruit juice, butter as well as others were all listed as alternatives used, by twenty percent of the two thousand adults surveyed in the UK.
A more worrisome number of the respondants reported that they have used saliva when putting lenses in their eyes. Considering we know that the mouth of the average adult is known to house hundreds of varieties of germs, this can pose a serious health risk to your eyes. Moreover, an alarming number of people presume that water from a tap or bottle is a suitable alternative for lens solution, but even pure bottled water or distilled water can contain parasites that can damage the eye and have been linked to Acanthamoeba keratitis, a sight-threatening infection. In fact, if you get water in your eyes from a pool, ocean or even a bath while wearing your lenses, it's a good idea to remove your lenses as soon as possible and disinfect them to rinse off any parasites that may have adhered to them.
The only liquid that should be used to wash, sterilize, lubricate or soak your contact lenses is proper lens solution. Never keep your contact lenses in water! Leaving your contact lenses in water isn't effective in disinfecting them and dangerous pathogens can gather on your lenses in minutes and eventually enter your eyes. Further, contact solution is balanced to match the acidity of the tear film in your eyes and water on the other hand can cause a reaction which makes your contacts change shape or stick causing discomfort and blurred vision.
If you know that you do not have the means to properly disinfect your contacts, you should definitely use daily disposable lenses as opposed to resusable lenses. You should always take age, lifestyle and level of responsibility into consideration when deciding which contacts are best for the members of your family.
Only those who are capable of understanding the proper way to care for contacts and the importance of doing so should use contact lenses, especially reusable brands. Failure to do so can cause permanent eye damage, vision loss and even blindness!