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How do I remove deposits from contact lenses?

Posted on 25 November 2016

How do I remove deposits from contact lenses?

We have all had that feeling where your contact lens is irritable and nothing you do seems to improve the situation. If you suffer from an irritated eye one initial strategy is to determine whether it is your eye or the contact lens that is the culprit. If you temporarily put the contact lens in the wrong eye and that eye immediately becomes irritated then you know that the problem is with the contact lens. If the irritation persists in the same eye then there is a problem with your eye itself and you need to see your eye care practitioner.

First you need to carefully examine the contact lens. Hold it up to a light source and look for any nicks or tears on the edge or centre of the lens. It might be useful to use a small magnifying glass to help check the lens. If any damage to the contact lens is evident then dispose of it immediately.

cleaning-contact-lens

  • Multipurpose solution
Place the contact lens on the palm of your hand and add your multipurpose solution. With your index finger gently rub the lens in a circular motion for 10 seconds on each side. If this does not stop the irritation then you will have to use a specific contact lens cleaning solution. 

  • Daily lens cleaner
For soft lenses a few different brands are available with the more commonly found cleaners being Alcon daily cleaner and B+L daily cleaner. A more intensive alcohol-based daily cleaner called Sof/Pro2 is also available. People who suffer chronic deposits on their contact lenses can also use a particularly good cleaner called Miraflow, however this is only available online. Hard contact lens wearers will find the Boston cleaning solution to be an effective solution. It is important that any contact lens cleaning solution which is a specific cleaner should not touch the eye and must be rinsed off before the contact lens is worn. 

  • Protein remover tablets and solutions
Both tablets and drops are available that are added to the overnight soaking solution. They contain an enzyme that helps remove protein from the contact lens surface. They can be used when necessary or on a regular basis depending on how severely your contact lenses develop deposits. One common brand of protein cleaner are the Ultrazyme tablets. 

  • Alkaline based cleaners
Progent is one of the alkaline based cleaners available. It is only for use with hard gas permeable contact lenses and comes in two separate capsules which are mixed together just before use. The contact lenses are then left in the mixed Progent solution for one hour, rinsed and then soaked overnight in the usual soaking solution. Progent is an extremely effective cleaner and can be used when necessary or prophylactically every month or so. 

  • Hydrogen peroxide solutions
Some overnight soaking solutions are hydrogen peroxide based. Although not strictly a cleaner itself, hydrogen peroxide solution often tends to keep the contact lens surface more clean then a multipurpose solution. Some common hydrogen peroxide based solutions are AOSept and EasySept. 

  • In office cleaning
Optometrists will offer a service whereby you can drop off your contact lens for several hours or a day and they will clean the lenses in office. Optometrists have access to solutions which are not available to the public and often these are able to clean stubborn deposits from the contact lens surface.

Hard gas permeable contact lenses are able to have their surface repolished to remove deposits and surface scratches. Unfortunately this is not always available with multifocal contact lenses and there is a small risk of any contact lens breaking while it is being polished. Soft contact lenses are not able to be polished.

  • Preventative lens cleaner
To help prevent the occurrence of deposits while wearing your contact lens, an effective eyedrop called Blink'N'Clean is available. Blink'N'Clean is inserted in the eye while you are wearing your lenses. it contains a mucolytic which helps dissolve mucus from the contact lens surface while the lenses are being worn.   

Obviously if any discomfort or pain persists cease wearing your contact lenses immediately and check with your eye care practitioner.