The American Optometric Association’s Contact Lens and Cornea Council, in conjunction with the American Academy of Optometry’s Section on Cornea, Contact Lens and Refractive Technologies, will pool their resources to create a panel of experts. These eyecare practitioners will research and answer commonly asked, but difficult to answer, contact lens questions. Aimed at both consumers and practitioners, a new website ( www.contactlenssafety.org), launched October 10.
The panel—consisting of Dr. Sindt, Edward Bennett, O.D., M.S.Ed., Loretta Szczotka-Flynn, O.D., and Tom Quinn, O.D., M.S.—will discuss frequently asked questions on topics like replacement schedules, medications and everyday contact lens wear. The website will be updated periodically as new information becomes available and consumers send in questions. All answers will be supported by peer-reviewed literature and will include citations for easy referencing.
As one of the panel members, I highly encourage you to direct your patients, staff and colleagues to use this valuable resource. Here are some examples of FAQs:
Q: Are my solutions good for an indefinite period of time?
A: Contact lens solutions should not be used after the expiration date. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that solution manufacturers begin labeling solution bottles with a discard date on their products—in addition to the usual expiration date.1 The discard date is the date the solution should be thrown out once the product has been opened. Manufacturers have already begun to assign discard dates to their solutions. Most discard dates are two to six months after the product is opened, depending on the solution.2,3
With the exception of the few that are packaged in an aerosol can, contact lens solutions that do not contain a preservative, such as
preservative-free saline solution, should be discarded 24 hours after opening.
Q: How should I clean my contact lens case?
A: To reduce the chances of infection or inflammation, discard the old solution from the wells of the case immediately after you remove the lenses. Rub the case with clean fingers for at least five seconds, rinse with contact lens disinfection solution and wipe dry with a clean cloth.4 Avoid washing the case with tap water as this has been linked with increasing the risk of developing Acanthamoeba keratitis—a severe corneal infection that is resistant to treatment and cure and can lead to permanent vision loss.5
Q: How often should I replace my occasionally worn lens?
A: Ideally, for soft lenses, I recommend disposing of the lenses after you remove them; even if a lens is only worn occasionally, every time it is removed, there is potential for contamination. However, at a minimum, clean and disinfect the lenses upon removal and keep the lenses in a tightly sealed case.
Repeat the entire cleaning and disinfecting procedure as often as weekly (for hydrogen peroxide-based systems) to monthly, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations for your care system.6 Repeat the cleaning and disinfection procedure within 24-hours of wearing the lens.7,8 It is also important to be aware of the lenses’ expiration date, so as to dispose of them prior to that date.
For rigid gas-permeable (GP) lenses, the procedure is different. Because these lenses can last for several years, the lens should be stored in a clean, dry case for long-term storage.9 It should first be cleaned and soaked for a minimum of four hours in a GP disinfecting solution before wearing. The exception to this is a spare, unopened lens that has been in solution from the manufacturer, and is therefore sterile.
1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available at:
www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/deviceregulationandguidance/guidancedocuments/ucm223663.htm (accessed September 2011).
2. Abbott Medical Optics. RevitaLens Ocutec multipurposedisinfecting solution. Available at:
www.amo-inc.com/products/corneal/multi-purpose-solution/revitalens-ocutec-multipurpose-disinfecting-solution (accessed September 2011).
3. Bausch + Lomb. Biotrue multipurpose solution. Available at:
www.bausch.com/en/Our-Products/Contact-Lens-Care/Soft-Contact-Lens-Multipurpose-Solutions/Biotrue-multi-purposesolution/Biotrue-Solutions-FAQ (accessed September 2011).
4. Wu YT, Zhu H, Wilcox M, Stapleton F. Removal of Biofilm from contact lens storage cases. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Dec;51(12):6329-33.
5. Mutoh T, Ishikawa I, Matsumoto Y, Chikuda M. A retrospective study of nine cases of Acanthamoeba keratitis. Clin Ophthmalmol. 2010 Oct;21(4):11890-2.
6. CIBA Vision. Clear Care solution. Available at:
www.clearcaresolution.com (accessed September 2011).
7. Weisbarth RE, Henderson B. Hydrogel lens care regimens and patient education. In: Bennett ES, Weissman BA. Clinical Contact Lens Practice. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; 2005:381-419.
8. Sweeney D, Holden B, Evans K, et al. Best practice contact lens care: a review of the Asia Pacific Contact Lens Care Summit. Clin Exp Optom. 2009 Mar;92(2):78-89.
9. Bennett ES, Wagner H. Rigid Lens Care and Patient Education. In: Bennett ES, Weissman BA. Clinical Contact Lens Practice. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; 2005:277-94.