Can i put my contact lenses in water?

If you’re an adventurous contact lens wearer, you might have wondered at some point whether it’s safe to put your contacts in water. Maybe you’re running low on contact lens solution and are considering alternatives. Or maybe you just want to go for a swim without having to worry about losing your vision. Whatever the reason may be, we’ve got some answers for you.

Understanding Contact Lenses

Before we get into whether or not it’s safe to put your contacts in water, let’s first understand what exactly contact lenses are and how they work.

Contact lenses are small, curved pieces of plastic that sit directly on the cornea of your eye. They correct vision by refracting light as it enters your eye so that it focuses correctly on the retina. These tiny little disks can come in varying sizes depending on individual needs such as astigmatism or nearsightedness.

There are two main types of contacts- soft and rigid gas permeable:

Soft Contacts

Soft contacts consist of silicone hydrogel polymer mixed with other materials like hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA). These lenses typically contain more than 50% water mixed homogeneously throughout their surface area – giving them their characteristic softness.

Rigid Gas Permeable Contacts

RGP’s comprise extremely oxygen-permeable polymers which allow carbon dioxide exhalation from corneal tissues while still promoting ample airflow across optical surfaces resulting in better visual acuity.

The Short Answer: No!

The simple answer is no – do NOT put your contacts in water! Why? Well there are several reasons:

  • Firstly CONTAMINATION – Water contains bacteria, fungi & viruses that wreak chaos if they make cozy homes within the moist environment inside our eyes when wearing contact lenses.
  • Chemical Composition also differs – Common disinfecting solutions use chemical substances like hydrogen peroxide or saline-based sodium chloride to sanitize lenses, whereas tap water has other chemicals such as chloramine and copper sulfate.
  • Lastly the structure of contacts themselves differ by type – rigid gas permeable may allow less oxygen transmission in water leading to corneal edema (fluid accumulation) whilst soft ones we just saw can absorb pollutants and warp due to osmotic pressure differences.

But What About…

You might be thinking – “Okay, I won’t put my contacts in regular tap water, but what about distilled or sterile water?” The answer is still no-even distilled and sterilized H2O must be avoided as they are not specifically designed or made for use with contact lenses.

Is It Okay If I Just Give Them a Rinse?

Again – NO! Despite manufacturers warning against it, approximately 25% of lens-wearers tend to rinse their daily wear disposable lenses either on their fingers using saliva( eww..!!),  normal bottled evian/ packaged solutions etc – which does NOT disinfect them.

Alternatives

Now let’s talk about alternatives-what can you do if you don’t have any contact solution handy? There ARE other options:

Saline Solution

Saline solution is similar in composition to your tears, making it a safe option for rinsing off your contact lens before reinsertion .Note that although its excellent at washing away debris from your eyes/contacts it doesn’t disinfect/ kill pathogens.

Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaning Solution

Hydrogen peroxide cleaning solution,on the contrary gets rid of bacteria/fungi too hence requiring longer soaking minutes under lid closure or catalysis by platinum disc surface before usage.

So although putting your contacts in water isn’t an option (seriously again DO NOT DO IT) there are certainly ways around it when push comes shove!

Best Practices While Wearing Contact Lenses

It’s crucial to follow proper contact lens hygiene if you want your contacts to be comfortable and long-lasting. Here are some best practices when it comes to wearing eye contacts:

  1. WASH YOUR HANDS – Before handling or removing lenses, wash hands with soap/water & dry completely using lint-less towel.
  2. REPLACE CONTACT CASE EVERY 3-6 MONTHS (or sooner if visibly contaminated) with a brand-new case – also avoid reusing cleaning solutions after >12 hours of opening&keep in mind expiry dates of liqud.
  3. AVOID “OVERWEAR” – Sleep only when prescribed by your doctor as certain specialized brands can be worn continuously for days/months.Zzzz
  4. DO NOT SWIM IN THEM – Use Waterproof goggle protecting the eyes/wear daily disposable disposables.

By following these basic tips, you’ll find that wearing contact lenses becomes easier and more convenient than ever before (Plus avoids scary complications such as Microbial Keratitis where infection can lead inside structure of cornea).

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, don’t put your contacts in water! It’s not worth the risk of damaging your eyes or compromising your vision.And while we’re on this note maybe avoid putting anything foreign near/in/nearby/around/dirty/filthy/potentially-hazardous material around important body organs like ears,mouth,nose- including but not limited too cue-tips/q-tips/eardigs,tweezers,toothpicks etc.

There are plenty alternatives out there – saline solution or hydrogen peroxide cleaning solution -that work just fine without risking an eye infection.Come on folks let’s keep ’em peepers healthy and bacteria-free!

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