A study performed by Bausch & Lomb in August revealed that a large number of people regularly use potentially harmful chemicals rather than contact lens solution to clean their lenses. Substances including baby oil, beer, coke, Vaseline, fruit juices, butter and others were all mentioned as occasional substitutes, by 20% of the 2,000 adults polled in the survey conducted in the UK.
Even more of the respondants indicated that they have used spit when putting lenses in their eyes. Since we know that the mouth of the typical adult contains 500 to 650 different types of bacteria, this can pose a serious health risk to your eyes. To worsen the situation, an alarming number of people think that water from a tap or bottle is a safe substitute for lens solution, however even pure bottled water or distilled water can contain parasites that can damage the eye and have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, a sight-threatening corneal infection. Even moreso, if water enters your eyes from a pool, ocean or even a bath while wearing your contacts, it's recommended to remove your lenses as soon as possible and disinfect them so no microorganisms can get trapped to the surface of your eye.
The only fluid that should be used to rinse, sterilize, moisten or soak your contacts is proper lens solution. It's dangerous to store your lenses in water! Keeping your contact lenses in water isn't effective in disinfecting them and dangerous pathogens can grow on your contacts almost instantly and enter your eyes once you put them in. Additionally, contact solution is balanced to match the saltiness of the tear film in your eyes and conversely water can cause a reaction which makes your contacts change shape or stick causing discomfort and blurred vision.
At times that you know that you do not have the means to properly disinfect your lenses, you should use one-use lenses instead of resusable lenses. Be sure to think about daily routine when you are deciding which type of contacts to purchase.
Before wearing contact lenses be sure to go over proper care guidelines with your eye doctor.
Only those who can understand the proper way to care for contact lenses and how important this is should wear contact lenses, particularly long-term wear contacts. Failure to do so can cause irreversible harm, vision loss and even blindness!