Saline Solution vs. Contact Solution
What’s the first thing anyone who wears contacts needs to understand regarding saline solution vs. contact solution? These two liquids aren’t the same. They aren’t interchangeable. If you remember nothing else, remember that they serve different purposes in the maintenance of contacts. If you’re ever in doubt regarding which is which, protect your eye health by reading the directions on the bottle as a reminder. In the meantime, here’s a handy overview to help you understand their distinct purposes.
Rinsing with Saline Solution
Saline solutions are only suitable for rinsing your contact lens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s it. Saline doesn’t have the power to clean or disinfect, so it’s not appropriate for cleaning, disinfecting, or storing any type of contact lens. Trying to use it for any of these purposes can endanger the health of your eyes. On a similar note, attempts to use homemade or compromised saline solutions are also risky. For contact care, always use clean hands and sterile, store-bought saline solutions.
Disinfecting and More with Contact Solution
Compared to saline solutions, contact solutions are more versatile. They should be used to clean, disinfect, and store your contacts. That makes selecting the right solution and following proper handling procedures essential. Generally, the type of contact solution that you need to use will depend on the type of contact that you wear. Your eye doctor will tell you which contact solution to get. It’s vital to follow their directions because the right solution will not only improve your comfort but also reduce your risk of eye infections and inflammation. Optometrists Network explains the types of contact solutions:
- Multipurpose contact lens solutions: Designed to do it all for virtually all soft contact lenses and even some daily disposable lenses, multipurpose contact solutions know how to multitask. These hardworking formulas can be used to clean, disinfect, rinse, and store the appropriate types of contact lenses.
- Rigid gas permeable contact lens solutions: Rigid gas permeable contact lenses, or RGP contacts, require a special type of solution. Never attempt to clean them with a contact solution designed for other contacts or saline solution. These contacts are made almost entirely from silicone with no water added to their formulation. As a result, caring for them demands a hard contact lens solution.
- Hydrogen peroxide contact lens solutions: When you want a deep clean with fewer irritating chemicals, a hydrogen peroxide contact solution can be a smart choice. While it does provide greater comfort for sensitive eyes, that comes at a cost. The cleaning takes longer. Expect a wait of four hours or more, depending on the formula. Most of these cleaners are designed for soft contacts, but you can find some for hard contacts. If you’re an RGP contact wearer with sensitive eyes, you may want to ask your eye doctor if this type of contact lens solution is an option for you.
Wearing contacts offers amazing freedom. It’s a chance to see the world around you clearly without the worry of glasses getting in the way. However, that freedom does come with a price. To safeguard your vision, you’ll need to be proactive about keeping your lenses clean and your eyes healthy. Using contact solution properly is part of that. Regular visits to your eye doctor are too.