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Taking proper care of your contact lenses is important for keeping your eyes healthy and infection-free. There are several products you can use to care for your contact lenses—one of the most common being contact lens solution. Contact lens solution is traditionally used to store contact lenses when they’re not being worn, but some contact lens solutions can also clean and disinfect contact lenses.
There are three primary types of contact lens solutions: multipurpose solution, hydrogen peroxide-based solution, and rigid gas permeable solution.1 Multipurpose solution is an all-in-one solution that rinses, disinfects, and stores contact lenses, and it’s commonly used to store soft contact lenses. Hydrogen peroxide-based solution cleans, disinfects, and stores contact lenses, and it’s traditionally prescribed when someone has an allergy to multipurpose solutions. Hydrogen peroxide-based solutions need to be stored in a special case that transforms the liquid into saline solution, so that it doesn’t burn or sting the eyes. Rigid gas permeable solution is specifically designed for hard contact lenses and tend to only store them—not to clean or disinfect them.
The right contact lens solution for you may depend on what kind of contact lenses you wear. Be sure to work with your optometrist to create a lens care system that responds to your unique needs.
Here are the best contact lens solutions on the market.Our Top PicksBest Overall: Renu Bausch + Lomb Lens Solution at AmazonPromises to kill 99.9% of germs in just four hours.Best Budget: COMPLETE Multi-Purpose Solution at AmazonYou can expect lenses that are clean, disinfected, and buildup-free.Best for Comfort: Biotrue Bausch + Lomb Solution at AmazonKeeps contact lenses comfortable while also minimizing irritation.Best for Dry Eyes: Opti-Free Puremoist Solution at AmazonComes equipped with HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix, a system that envelops contact lenses in a cushion of moisture.Best for Sensitive Eyes: Clear Care Cleaning & Disinfecting Solution at AmazonIt may be a suitable choice for those who find multipurpose solutions irritating.Best for Red Eyes: Equate Saline Solution for Sensitive Eyes at AmazonPromises to cut down on redness, as well as dryness and irritation.Best for Scleral Lenses: Clear Conscience Multi-Purpose Contact Solution at AmazonSuitable for soft contact lenses (including silicone hydrogel lenses) and rigid gas permeable contact lenses, alike.Best Rewetting Drops: Refresh Contact Lens Comfort Drops at AmazonCan be applied throughout the day to soothe the eyes, providing moisture, relief, and comfort.Best Preservative-Free: Purilens Saline Solution at AmazonDoesn’t contain many of the irritating compounds that may be found in other multipurpose or hydrogen peroxide-based solutions.Best for Travel: ACUVUE RevitaLens Solution at AmazonParticularly effective at combating Acanthamoeba, an amoeba found in dirt and water that can cause severe eye infections.
Best Overall: Renu Bausch + Lomb Lens Solution
- Allows for oxygen flow
- Conditions and disinfects
- May not be suitable for sensitive eyes
- More expensive option
ReNu’s Bausch + Lomb Lens Solution is a multipurpose contact lens solution that’s suitable for soft contact lenses—including silicone hydrogel lenses, which are special soft lenses that allow for greater oxygen flow. In addition to storing contact lenses, ReNu’s Bausch + Lomb Lens Solution promises to clean, condition, rinse, and disinfect. It cleans lenses by dissolving denatured proteins (proteins that are no longer useful) that have built up on the lenses.
Many contact lens solutions disinfect lenses, but ReNu’s Bausch + Lomb Lens Solution disinfects more quickly than most. The solution’s triple disinfectant system kills 99.9% of germs in just four hours. ReNu’s Bausch + Lomb Lens Solution hydrates lenses for all-day comfort, providing up to 20 hours of moisture at a time.
Active Ingredients: Boric acid and polyaminopropyl biguanide (0.00005%) | Use: To condition, store, and disinfect contact lenseshttps://34b3ce9fbd01d66a21b4ebf3e6e9f4c2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Best Budget: COMPLETE Multi-Purpose Solution
View On AmazonPros
- Gentle on eyes
- Doesn’t mimic natural tears with ingredients
- Must rub for 10 seconds
Complete’s Multi-Purpose Solution is, like its name implies, a multipurpose contact lens solution suitable for soft contact lenses—but for half the price of many comparable products. It provides a balance of disinfection and comfort, keeping lenses clean while remaining gentle on the eyes.
Like many multipurpose contact solutions, Complete’s Multi-Purpose Solution dissolves denatured proteins and other debris on the lenses. After just six hours in Complete’s Multi-Purpose Solution, you can expect your lenses to be clean and ready to wear.
Active Ingredients: Polyhexamethylene Biguanide (0.0001%) | Use: To store, disinfect, and clean contact lenseshttps://34b3ce9fbd01d66a21b4ebf3e6e9f4c2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Best for Comfort: Biotrue Bausch + Lomb Multi-Purpose Solution
- Matches pH of healthy tears
- Hydrates with hyaluronan (HA), which is naturally found in the eye
- Only for soft lenses
- Screw top lid
Biotrue’s Contact Lens Solution is a multipurpose solution suitable for soft contact lenses, including silicone hydrogel contact lenses. In addition to storing contact lenses, the solution conditions, cleans, rinses, and disinfects.
Biotrue’s Contact Lens Solution is designed to match the pH of healthy tears. This keeps the lenses comfortable while also minimizing irritation. Biotrue’s Contact Lens Solution also hydrates lenses using hyaluronan (HA), a lubricant found naturally in the eye. This system can keep your contacts moisturized for up to 20 hours at a time, for comfortable, all-day wear.
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronan, sulfobetaine, poloxamine, and boric acid | Use: Conditions, cleans, rinses, and disinfects contact lenses for all day wearThe 7 Best Places to Buy Glasses Online in 2021
Best for Dry Eyes: Opti-Free Puremoist Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution
- Two disinfectants in one to kill more bacteria
- HydraGlyde envelops contacts in moisture
- May not be suitable for sensitive eyes
- More expensive option
Opti-Free’s Puremoist Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution is a multipurpose contact lens solution that draws on two different disinfectants to rid contact lenses of microorganisms that could potentially cause infection. The contact solution also comes equipped with HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix, a system that envelops contact lenses in a cushion of moisture. This leaves lenses feeling comfortable while also creating a protective barrier that helps keep debris from getting in.
Active Ingredients: Sodium citrate, sodium chloride, and boric acid | Use: To clean, store, and disinfect contact lensesThe 10 Best Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes of 2021https://34b3ce9fbd01d66a21b4ebf3e6e9f4c2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Best for Sensitive Eyes: Clear Care Cleaning & Disinfecting Solution
- Hydrogen peroxide provides a deep clean
- Combats protein and debri buildup
- Cannot use as a quick rinse
- Will irritate eyes if solution touches it directly before soaking over time
Clear Care’s Cleaning & Disinfecting Solution is a hydrogen peroxide-based solution that can be used with both soft contact lenses and rigid gas permeable contact lenses. The bubbling hydrogen peroxide gives a deep clean, loosening dirt and combating protein and debris buildup.
Because Clear Care’s Cleaning & Disinfecting Solution is hydrogen peroxide-based, it may be a suitable choice for those who find multipurpose solutions irritating. The solution is also preservative-free, to further cut down on irritation.
That said, it’s important to use hydrogen peroxide-based solutions exactly as instructed to avoid burning, stinging, or otherwise irritating the eyes. Clear Care’s Cleaning & Disinfecting Solution comes with a contact lens case that, over time, converts the hydrogen peroxide to a gentle saline solution. This solution mimics natural tears, and its HydraGlade system cushions lenses with long-lasting moisture. These elements keep lenses feeling comfortable enough for all-day wear.
Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide | Use: Cleans and disinfects both soft contacts and gas permeable lenses
Best for Red Eyes: Equate Saline Solution for Sensitive Eyes
- Good for sensitive eyes
- Non-name brand item, which means contents may vary
- Does not disinfect
Equate’s Saline Solution for Sensitive Eyes is a saline-based solution that is suitable for soft contact lenses. Unlike multipurpose solutions and hydrogen peroxide-based solutions, saline-based solutions cannot clean or disinfect lenses. Instead, Equate’s Saline Solution for Sensitive Eyes is simply designed to store and rinse lenses, keeping them fresh, moist, and ready to be used.
Equate’s Saline Solution for Sensitive Eyes was specifically designed with sensitive eyes in mind. The sterile solution promises to cut down on redness, dryness, and irritation.
Active Ingredients: Boric acid, sodium borate, and potassium chloride | Use: To rinse and store contact lensesThe 11 Best Blue Light Blocking Glasses of 2021https://34b3ce9fbd01d66a21b4ebf3e6e9f4c2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Best for Scleral Lenses: Clear Conscience Multi-Purpose Contact Solution
- Suitable for soft and gas permeable lenses
- Combats protein and lipid buildup
- Must rub lenses
- Not available at all drugstores
Scleral contact lenses are rigid gas permeable contact lenses commonly prescribed to patients who have corneal irregularities.2 Most multipurpose contact solutions are designed for soft contact lenses, not rigid gas permeable contact lenses. But Clear Conscience’s Multi-Purpose Contact Solution is a multipurpose solution that is suitable for both soft contact lenses (including silicone hydrogel lenses) and rigid gas permeable contact lenses.
Clear Conscience’s Multi-Purpose Contact Solution cleans, conditions, rinses, and disinfects contact lenses while storing them. Like many multipurpose contact solutions, it also promises to combat protein and lipid buildup. Clear Conscience’s Multi-Purpose Contact Solution is proudly cruelty-free. It’s also free of the potentially irritating disinfectant chlorhexidine and preservative thimerosal.
Active Ingredients: Poloxamer, sodium phosphate buffer, and sodium chloride
Use: To clean, condition, rinse, and disinfect lenses
Best Rewetting Drops: Refresh Contact Lens Comfort Drops
- Long lasting hydration
- Soft and gas permeable use
- Cannot store lenses in solution
- Small amount of product included
Refresh’s Contacts Comfort Drops are not technically contact solution, but instead are eye drops to keep your contacts feeling fresh and moist throughout the day. Refresh’s Contacts Comfort Drops can be paired with both soft contact lenses and rigid gas permeable lenses.
Refresh’s Contacts Comfort Drops can be applied throughout the day to soothe the eyes, providing moisture, relief, and comfort. Each drop creates a “liquid cushion” that offers long-lasting hydration.
Active Ingredients: Carboxymethylcellulose sodium, sodium chloride, and boric acid | Use: To refresh contact lenses throughout the dayhttps://34b3ce9fbd01d66a21b4ebf3e6e9f4c2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Best Preservative-Free: Purilens Plus Preservative-Free Saline Solution
- pH balanced
- Minimally irritating
- Will not disinfect lenses
- Will not clean lenses
PuriLens’ Plus Preservative-Free Saline Solution is a saline-based solution, suitable for both soft contact lenses and rigid gas permeable contact lenses. The preservative-free solution is pH balanced to mimic the eye’s natural tears, making it a comfortable and minimally irritating option.
Because PuriLens’ Plus Preservative-Free Saline Solution is preservative-free, it doesn’t contain many of the potentially irritating compounds that may be found in other multipurpose or hydrogen peroxide-based solutions. This makes it an excellent option for those with dry or sensitive eyes. But because it is a saline-based solution, it will not clean or disinfect contact lenses—it will only store them.
Active Ingredients: Sodium chloride, sodium borate, and boric acid | Use: To store contact lenses
Best for Travel: ACUVUE RevitaLens Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution
View On AmazonPros
- Combats Acanthamoeba, an amoeba that can create serious eye infections
- Good for travel-related activities
- Screw-on cap
Acuvue’s RevitaLens Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution is a multipurpose solution with a dual-disinfecting technology that kills bacteria while maintaining the comfort needed for all-day wear.
Research has shown that Acuvue’s RevitaLens Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution is particularly effective at combating Acanthamoeba, an amoeba that can cause severe eye infections.3 Acanthamoeba is commonly found in dirt and water, so travel-related activities, like swimming and using a hot tub, are associated with an increased risk of infection.4 Acuvue’s RevitaLens Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution may be an apt choice for those who are traveling—especially because the solution is available in a TSA-friendly container.
Active Ingredients: Alexidine dihydrochloride 0.00016%, polyquaternium-1 0.0003%, and boric acid | Use: To clean, store, and disinfectThe 8 Best Places to Buy Contacts in 2021
ReNu’s Bausch + Lomb Lens Solution (view on Amazon) is an excellent choice for those looking for a comfortable, moisturizing multipurpose solution that disinfects quickly and efficiently. If you have particularly sensitive eyes, opt for Biotrue’s Contact Lens Solution (view at Amazon). It balances comfort and cleanliness while keeping your lenses moist and hydrated.
What to Look for in a Contact Lens Solution
Contact solutions work by killing bacteria through included preservatives. “Preservatives in contact lens solutions either kill (bactericidal) or stop growth (bacteriostatic) of bacteria. They enhance the lens surface wettability, disinfect the lens, maintain lens hydrated in the eye and serve as a mechanical buffer between the eye and the lens and the cornea,” says Elisa Bano, M.D., optometrist at ReFocus Eye Health. Most common preservatives/ingredients are, according to Dr. Bano:
- Ethylenediamine tetraacetate (EDTA): chelating agent (reduces heavy metals) and not a true preservative5
- Benzalkonium chloride (BAK): works as it kills a wide spectrum of bacteria and fungi6 , combined with EDTA can be used in lower concentration
- Chlorhexidine-Bactericidal: When binded with EDTA, it has increased efficacy for gas permeable lenses7 , but not as effective against fungi/ yeast
- Thimerosal-Bactericidal: This is a slow acting ingredient that’s ineffective against pseudomonas.8 Patient sensitivity has been reported with this ingredient.9
- Polyaminopropyl biguanide (PAPB): low sensitivity, used for soft contact lenses10
- Polyquad: low sensitivity11
- Benzyl Alcohol: a preservative that helps kill bacteria
Different contact lenses are compatible with different contact lens solutions. You may want to talk to your eye doctor to ensure your contact lens solution (and overall contact lens care system) meets your individual needs.
Contact Lens Storage Time
Different contact lens solutions can store contact lenses for different amounts of time. “I generally recommend that if a patient is only wearing lenses occasionally and thus storing for longer periods of time, to completely change the solution in the case no less than every month,” says Jeff Kegarise, M.D., a board-certified optometrist and co-author of One Patient at a Time: The K2 Way Playbook for Healthcare & Business Success. “My first recommendation would actually be to change to daily disposable lenses, which are a much better option for part time wearers. It’s also very important to clean your case with soap and water, drying thoroughly and then rinsing the inner case with your contact lens solution.”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- How long can you keep contact lens solution after opening?Some contacts are made to wear daily, weekly, or even monthly. You should change out the solution each time you put in and take out your lenses. If you don’t wear them for a few days, you may store them in the same solution for the amount of time your lenses are built to last for (daily, weekly, or monthly). Always talk to your eye doctor if you have additional concerns. The maximum amount of time you should ever store lenses is 30 days.
- When should you change contact lens solution?
- Can you use contact lens solutions like eye drops?
What the Experts Say
“If you are not achieving that level of comfort and wearability, and have dryness or irritation that limits the wearing time you would like, talk to your doctor about potential underlying causes,”—Jeff Kegarise, M.D