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  • Writer's pictureMaria Cholakova

Can You Use Saline Solution to Clean Contact Lenses?

Proper care of contact lenses prolongs the life of the lenses. But what happens if you need to clean your lenses but you have no contact lens solution? Can you use something else instead? And how safe is it to use saline solution to clean contact lenses?

In this article, you will find a few things you need to know about saline solution and how it interacts with contact lenses.

Using Saline Solution to Clean Contact Lenses

Saline is a sterile solution with a salt and water composition. It serves several medical purposes, like cleaning wounds and nasal irrigation.

Saline solution closely mimics the natural composition of tears. So, it's gentle and compatible with delicate eye tissues, when you are not overexposing the eye to it.

contact lenses saline solution

How Saline Solution Affects Contact Lenses?

Using saline solution is indeed a good method to rinse and hydrate your contact lenses.

But at the same time, the solution does NOT disinfect or clean contact lenses thoroughly and effectively.

Saline solution lacks the necessary ingredients to effectively remove debris, protein deposits, lipid residues, and microorganisms accumulating on contact lenses over time.

Saline solution is compatible with most types of contact lenses, including soft and rigid gas-permeable lenses. It prevents the lenses from drying out and is unlikely to cause damage or adverse reactions when you use it appropriately.

Some people with sensitive eyes or allergies to lens cleaning solutions use saline fluid as a storage medium for their contact lenses. Then again, saline alone does NOT provide disinfection. So additional steps may be needed to ensure adequate lens hygiene.

Is It Safe to Use Saline Solution Instead of Contact Lens Cleaning Solution?

Saline solution is safe to use as a one-time thing to rinse your contacts before insertion into the eyes. But using it over time as a permanent or continuous replacement of a lens-cleaning solution is a gateway to subjecting yourself to an eye infection.

Please consult your eye doctor if you have concerns about allergies to contact lens cleaning solutions, and they will provide you with long-term alternatives other than saline.

Proper Contact Lens Cleaning Routine

Using saline solution to clean contact lenses is a temporary option when you are out of your regular cleaning liquid. But in general, it's safer to stick to the classic cleaning solutions for contacts.

Reduce the risk of eye infections by following a proper contact lens cleaning routine:

  1. Wash hands with soap and water

  2. Discard the old solution from the contact lens case

  3. Clean the case

  4. Fill the case with fresh solution

  5. Remove the lenses and place them in the palm of your hand

  6. Apply a multipurpose cleaning solution for contact lenses

  7. Gently rub the lenses with your fingers to remove debris

  8. Rinse them thoroughly with the solution

  9. Store the clean contacts in your clean contact lens case

  10. Adhere to the replacement schedule

While saline solution is a good way to rinse contact lenses, don't rely on it as a sole cleaning agent. For good hygiene, follow a contact lens care routine using a suitable multipurpose cleaning solution.

Checked by Atanas Bogoev, MD.


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