Research conducted by Bausch & Lomb this past August determined that many individuals regularly use strange lubricants instead of contact lens solution to keep their lenses moist. Everything from baby oil, to coke to butter was reportedly used as an alternative to proper contact solution by one eighth of the 2,000 adults that responded in the United Kingdom.
Even more of those queried indicated that they use saliva when putting lenses in their eyes. Considering we know that the average adult mouth contains 500 to 650 different types of microorganisms, this is clearly not a good idea. Moreover, an alarming number of individuals believe that tap water, bottled water or distilled water are a safe replacement for contact solution, however even pure bottled water or distilled water may contain parasites that can damage the eye and have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, a sight-threatening corneal infection. In fact, if you get water in your eyes when swimming or bathing while your contacts are in, it's recommended to take out your contacts as soon as you can and disinfect them to rinse away any parasites that may have stuck to them.
The only thing that you should use to rinse, disinfect, moisten or soak your contacts is approved contact solution. It's dangerous to keep your contact lenses in water! Keeping lenses in water does not thoroughly clean them and dangerous pathogens can gather on your contacts within minutes and enter your eyes with the contacts. In addition, contact solution is balanced to match the saltiness of your tears and conversely water can cause a reaction which makes your contacts change shape or stick causing discomfort and blurred vision.
When you know that you do not have the means to properly disinfect your contacts, you should use one-use contacts rather than lenses that you reuse. It's imperative to take age, daily routine and level of maturity into consideration when deciding which contacts are best for you.
Before you or anyone in your family begins to use contacts be sure to go over with your eye care professional the proper way to care for and store them.
Keep in mind that failure to properly care for your contacts with approved contact solution can cause irreversible damage to the eyes, vision loss and even blindness!