Contact Lens Safety

Contact lenses are defined as medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While contact lenses are extremely safe, it is important to take good care of your lenses. Proper lens treatment can reduce the risk of infection, complications, and ensure the continued good health of your eyes.

The care is different for each lens so it is especially important to listen to the guidelines set down by your eye care provider.

The following guidelines were developed incorporating previously published material by the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists (CLAO) and the Contact Lens Section of the American Optometric Association, along with the consensus of opinion of those attending the International Contact Lens Leadership Summit. They are meant as general guidelines and are not intended to replace the manufacturer's instructions or the recommendations of your eye care professional (ECP). Always follow your ECP's recommended schedule for contact lens wear and lens replacement.

  1. Always follow your ECP's recommended schedule for contact lens wear and lens replacement.
  2. Do not wear your lenses overnight unless approved by your ECP, and be aware that overnight wear of contact lenses increases the risk of complications.
  3. Wash your hands before handling contact lenses. Use a fragrance-free soap and dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
  4. Always use the lens care products recommended by your ECP. Not all solutions work with all lenses, and saline solution and rewetting drops do not clean or disinfect your lenses.
  5. Your lens care regimen might involve a single multipurpose solution or several steps. Be sure you understand the correct use of the lens care products recommended by your ECP. When cleaning your lenses, rub the contact lenses with fingers and rinse thoroughly with solution before soaking lenses.
  6. Never use tap water in your lens care or rinsing, and never put your lenses in your mouth or use saliva to wet them.
  7. After removing your lenses from the case for wearing, discard the solution, rinse the case, and allow it to air dry so it will be ready when your lenses are removed. Never reuse old solutions or "top off' the solution in your lens case.
  8. If your contact lenses are not worn for more than 24 hours, it is advisable to repeat the cleaning and disinfection process before using them again.
  9. Replace your lens care product(s) before their expiration date or at the interval recommended by your ECP. Replace your lens case when you replace your solutions or at the interval recommended by your ECP.
  10. Always remove contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub.
  11. Never trade or share lenses with anyone.
  12. Remove your contact lenses as soon as possible if your eyes become red, irritated, or painful. If your vision worsens while wearing lenses, consult your ECP immediately.
  13. Even if you are not having a problem, see your ECP at least once a year to check the health of your eyes and determine if your current lenses and care products are still the best choice for you. If you wear lenses overnight or have other risk factors for lens-related complications, your ECP may recommend more frequent visits.

Reference from page 435 of Eye and Contact Lens: Science and Clinical Practice, Volume 33, Number 6, Part 2 of 2, November 2007.