Are You Cleaning Your Contacts Correctly?

Correct contact lens cleaning may prevent eye infections, injury

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

Cleaning your contact lenses incorrectly could cause you harm and negatively affect your vision.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to be cautious when caring for their contact lenses. This is particularly important when using contact solution that contains hydrogen peroxide. 

Contact solutions that contain hydrogen peroxide are free of preservatives, which makes these a good option for those who have an allergy or are sensitive to preservatives in other contact solutions. However, these hydrogen peroxide solutions are not risk-free. 

How to Properly Use Hydrogen Peroxide-Containing Contact Solution

  • Always read all warning labels and instructions. Typically, contact solutions that contain hydrogen peroxide include a red warning label and a red bottle tip. These specific bottle features are included to remind users that these products require special handling.
  • Never apply hydrogen peroxide directly to your eyes or onto your contact lenses. Solutions containing hydrogen peroxide can result in stinging, burning and damage to your eyes. In fact, these contact solutions can damage the cornea, which is the clear surface that covers the eye. 
  • Always follow the disinfecting process correctly with a “neutralizer.” Hydrogen peroxide-containing solution will include a neutralizer that turns the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen and, in turn, makes it safe to put the contact lenses into your eyes. This neutralization process can be done in one or two steps. Regardless of the process, always follow the instructions as directed to avoid eye injury. 

What Are the Possible Adverse Events Tied to Hydrogen Peroxide-Containing Contact Solutions? 

The FDA has received reports of adverse events associated with the use hydrogen peroxide-containing contact solutions, such as eye burning and eye stinging. 

To avoid adverse events, always use these products as directed. If you have questions or concerns, contact your eye-care provider. Report any adverse events or problems with these products to the FDA’s MedWatch Program.

What Other Steps Can I Take to Avoid Eye Infections and Eye Injury?

  • Before you decide on a cleaning and disinfecting method for your contact lenses, ask your eye-care provider. 
  • Do not change your contact care routine without first speaking to your eye-care provider. 
  • Always read all of the instructions on the contact solution box and bottle — and follow them carefully. 
  • If you have any questions about caring for your contacts, stop and contact your eye-care provider.
  • Do NOT share contact solution that contains hydrogen peroxide. Others may confuse your solution with multipurpose solution and not follow the specific instructions required for hydrogen peroxide-containing contact solution. This could lead to eye damage.
  • Use the contact lens case that comes with the new bottle of contact solution. Using an old contact lens cases may not neutralize the peroxide and, in turn, could cause burning, stinging and irritation of the eyes when you insert your contact lenses. 
  • Make sure to leave your contacts in the contact solution for at least six hours to ensure the neutralizing process has been completed.
  • NEVER rinse your contact lenses with hydrogen peroxide-containing solutions.
  • NEVER apply hydrogen peroxide-containing solutions to your eyes.
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 23, 2016