How Often Should You Replace A Contact Lens Case?
Most of the time when we discuss proper contact lens wear, we say things such as “don’t
sleep in the contacts”, “use fresh solution each night”, or “make sure you don’t overwear the contacts. Dispose of them every month (or day) depending on the brand.” One important facet of contact lens care that is often overlooked is the case. We equate using fresh solution to using fresh bath water. Shouldn’t we also talk about the tub (case)!
The American Optometric Association states you should “store lenses in the proper lens storage case and replace the case at least every three months. Clean the case after each use, and keep it open and dry between cleanings.” Why three months though? The primary concern is bacteria! No matter how well you may clean the case, bacteria will buildup along the inside of the case and may contaminate the contact lens (even when using fresh solution). One study found tens of thousands of bacteria in just a small volume of one participant’s contact solution, despite the fact that person used fresh solution every day!
The same applies to the cases used with Clear Care or any solution that requires 6 hours or so to neutralize hydrogen peroxide. Fortunately, those solutions typically come with a case, which makes remembering to change the case easier.
Our eyes are especially sensitive to bacterial infection, and dirty contacts may not only cause you to have itching, irritated eyes, but they can also cause permanent vision loss. In addition to replacing the cases every 3 months, also remember to follow these steps to reduce the risks for eye infections:
Always wash hands with soap and water before handling contacts.
Every day, empty contact solution out of the case, wash with solution and clean fingers.
Let the case air dry, upside down on a paper towel, before putting caps back on.
Do not let the tip of the solution bottle touch the case, as it may carry bacteria and contaminates.