A study conducted by Bausch & Lomb this past August revealed that many people regularly use strange substances rather than contact lens solution to clean their lenses. Everything from baby oil, to beer to butter was reportedly used as an alternative to actual lens solution by twenty percent of the 2,000 adults that responded in the UK.
An even larger number of the respondants indicated that they have used spit when putting lenses in their eyes. Since we know that the typical adult mouth contains hundreds of varieties of germs, this can pose a serious health risk to your eyes. Additionally, many people presume that water from a tap or bottle is a safe replacement for lens solution, however even those can contain parasites that can damage the eye and have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, an infection that threatens your eyesight. Even moreso, if you get water in your eyes when swimming or bathing while wearing your lenses, it's recommended to take out your lenses as quickly as you can and disinfect them so no microorganisms can get stuck underneath.
The only liquid that you should use to wash, sterilize, moisten or soak your contacts is approved contact lens solution. Never keep your lenses in water! Leaving your contact lenses in water does not sterilize them and harmful pathogens can gather on your lenses almost instantly and enter your eyes once you put them in. In addition, lens solution is balanced to compliment the acidity of the tear film in your eyes and conversely water can cause discomfort or blurred vision since your lenses may stick or change shape.
If you know that you do not have the means to properly disinfect your lenses, you should consider using one-use contacts instead of resusable lenses. Speak to your eye doctor about taking age, lifestyle and level of maturity into consideration when determining which contacts are most suitable for the members of your family.
Prior to purchasing contact lenses be sure you go over proper care guidelines with your optometrist.
Remember failure to properly care for your lenses with approved lens solution can result in permanent harm, loss of vision and even blindness!