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How to Care for Your Contact Lenses

Contact lenses need to be cleaned and stored the right way. This helps to prevent eye infection and irritation. Proper handling also prevents damage to the lenses.

These instructions are for soft contact lenses. They are the most common type.

What You Will Need

  • A case for the lenses
  • Cleaning and storage solutions that are not expired
  • Saline solution to keep the lenses from drying out

Steps to Take

Always wash your hands before handling contact lenses.

Cleaning the Lenses

To clean the lenses:

  1. Follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions.
  2. Put the cleaning solution on the lenses. Do not use water or saline solution instead. Keep the tip of the bottle from touching the solution or the lenses.
  3. Rub the solution into the lenses with your finger.
  4. Soak the lenses in the solution. How long you need to soak them depends on your lenses.
  5. Rinse the case with saline solution. Do not use water instead. Keep the tip of the bottle from touching the solution or the case. Let the case air dry.

Maintaining and Storing the Lenses

Here are tips to maintain and store the lenses:

  • Replace the lenses as your doctor advises.
  • Replace storage containers every three months or as advised by your doctor. Replace cracked or damaged cases right away.
  • Make sure you have enough storage solution for your lenses. Do not use water instead.
  • Do not move storage solution from one case to another. Use fresh solution in a new case.
  • Clean lenses that have been stored for a long time.

Some things to keep in mind are:

  • Do not use sprays, powders, or other items that could get on your lenses. Or, you can use them before putting your lenses in.
  • Do not use tap water in place of contact lens solutions. It can irritate the eyes.
  • Do not use saliva to re-wet lenses.
  • Do not wear contacts in pools or hot tubs.

Common Questions

Q. Are multipurpose lens care solutions better than single purpose solutions?

A. It depends on the type of lenses you have. Follow your doctor's advice.

Q. I recently switched from hard contact lenses to soft lenses. Can I use the same lens care solutions?

A. No. The solutions for each type of lens are different. Using the wrong solution will damage soft lenses.

Q. Should I use a hydrogen peroxide based cleaner?

A. Some cleaning chemicals can cause eye irritation. Your doctor may recommend a hydrogen peroxide solution. Use it with care. It needs to be put in a special container. Avoid putting the lenses in your eye immediately after using this solution. Do not rinse the lenses in this solution. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Blurred vision or pain while wearing your contact lenses
  • Redness or itching in your eye
  • Problems putting your contact lenses in your eye or taking them out

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Kellogg Eye Center—University of Michigan Health System


Canadian Association of Optometrists

Canadian Ophthalmological Society


Alipour, F, Khaheshi, S, Soleimanzadeh, M, et al. Contact lense related complications: a review J Ophthalmic Vis Res. 2017 Apr-Jun; 12(2): 193–204.

Contact lense care. American Optometric Association. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/vision-and-vision-correction/contact-lens-care?sso=y. Accessed December 17, 2020.

Contact lens removal. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Accessed December 15, 2020.

Corneal abrasion. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/corneal-abrasion. Accessed December 15, 2020.

How to take care of contact lenses. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/contact-lens-care. Accessed December 17, 2020.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary-Beth Seymour, RN