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Using Your Contact Lens Solution as an Eye Drop

Are you are using your contact lens solution as an eye […]

By Published On: 13 April 20184.9 min read

Are you are using your contact lens solution as an eye drop to lubricate your eyes? If so, you’re not alone; this is a common strategy to try and improve comfort.

But unfortunately it does far more harm than good. The Eye Practice has written this post which looks at why this is and what you can do about it.

Are contact lens solutions good or bad?

Contact lens solutions are very good at what they do, which is to disinfect and store your lenses. Their function is to kill microbes on your lenses. They are therefore toxic to living cells – including your own! The vast majority are preserved with chemicals that are also toxic to eyes – sometimes causing prolonged inflammation.

The temptation may be strong to add a little moisture by squeezing in a drop of storage solution directly into your eye while wearing your lens… BUT avoid this strategy if you want to continue to be able to wear your lenses long term.

If your eyes feel dry or uncomfortable, then you should look at treating the dryness rather than using your solution to refresh the lenses. There are several excellent innovative contact lens materials that reduce feelings of dryness.  There are also several non-preserved tear substitutes to relief the symptoms of dryness and irritation.

A very important point consider…

Over a period of 10 years, 70% of people stop using their lenses because of contact lens discomfort!  Seek attention from a contact lens expert if you value wearing your lenses.

Why are contact lenses so popular?

Contact lenses are one of the preferred means of correcting vision problems. Admittedly, they are more convenient than big and bulky eye glasses. This is especially true when it comes to travel and sport.

Even with the availability of laser eye surgery to correct vision problems, contact lenses remain popular. This may be due to the cost of surgery. Or, fear and worry of the risks and complications of such procedures.

The downside to contact lenses

While they may be cheaper, safer and more convenient than glasses or surgery, contact lenses also have their downside.

People with vision problems are also concerned about the safety of these lenses which are often too small and too fragile to handle. Because of this, these lenses should be handled with extra care at all times.

Contact lenses are delicate and fragile and they should not be exposed to other fluids apart from the following:

  • Natural fluids in your eyes
  • Special contact lens solutions
  • Hydrating / lubricating eye drops

Best eye drops for use with contact lenses

Most of the time, people who wear contact lenses only purchase contact lens cleaning solutions. But in certain environments, your eyes tend to be very dry when you wear contact lenses.

This can make wearing the lenses unbearable, so something needs to be done to add moisture if you cannot take the lenses off and wear your glasses.

You would most likely feel helpless especially if you do not have access to the eye drops specially designed for your lenses. One remedy if you don’t have a proper lubricant available is to use the overnight storage solution.  BUT BEWARE!

Why contact lens solution shouldn’t go in your eye

You should substitute preservative-free lubricating eye drops instead of your contact lens disinfecting and storage solution.

Here are some easy steps:Contact lenses cleaning solution

  • It is quite likely that your contact lens storage solution could be responsible for your eye irritation.
  • Using your storage solution should be a last resort.
  • If you use lubricating drops regularly, always choose non-preserved ampules (unit dose). Preservatives in any type of bottled solution can be toxic to the eyes.
  • If you do not have anything other than your contact lens storage solution, make sure you do not touch the tip of the bottle to your eye or eyelashes. Contact can infect the solution and you can ultimately give yourself an eye infection.
  • If you think you are sensitive to your lens storage solution (remember this is quite common), you should immediately see your optometrist for advice.
  • Long term sensitivity to contact lens solutions is one of the major reasons that many patients ultimately drop out of contact lenses altogether.
  • Certain storage solutions CAN be used in to lubricate lenses. BUT it must be a multi-purpose, all-in-one solution. If you use a peroxide solution (which is excellent for disinfecting your lenses) directly in the eye you will be headed for the emergency department.

Where we come in…

At The Eye Practice, solving contact lens related issues is our specialty. Our strategy for contact lens success, which has been very successful over the years is:

  • Prescribe single-use daily contact lenses that are packaged in non-preserved solutions.
  • If re-useable lenses must be prescribed then we recommend non-preserved, peroxide-based cleaning systems (such as AOSept) to avoid complications.
  • We have had some success lately with a new contact lens solution called BioTrue made by Bausch & Lomb. This solution has been designed from to try and mimic human tears. It is the ONLY preserved all-in-one (or multipurpose) solution that we currently recommend. This is due to the horrendous contact-lens dropout rates we see.
  • Educate our patients extensively – not all contact lenses and contact lens solutions are the same!

Ultimately it is best to avoid using your storage solution as a lubricant.  It is likely that it is the actual cause of your problem to begin with.  Carry some individual vials of non-preserved lubricating drops when ever you wear your contact lenses. This will mean you will have something much healthier to use.

Experiencing problems with your contact lenses? Or, want to enjoy ongoing success? Call The Eye Practice on (02) 9290 1899 or

(This article was originally published on 4/7/2012 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance).



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