Can I store disposable contacts in water or daily cleaner overnight with no ill effects?
May 31, 2006 8:33 PM   Subscribe

Can I use water to keep disposable contacts overnight?

After two years wearing glasses, I switched back to wearing contacts. I went last week, and am wearing a pair of Acuvue Hydroclear for a week to see how well my eyes work with contacts again. My checkup is on Friday, and I'll get my year's supply then.

I went away for the weekend, and left my complimentary case & saline solution there. The last two nights I've slept with my contacts in without any negative signs, but I want to take them out tonight. I stopped by a shady pharmacy on my way back, and accidently picked up daily cleaner instead of saline solution. Can I store my contacts in water or this Alcon Opti-Free Daily Cleaner, or am I stuck sleeping with the contacts in again tonight?
posted by Darke to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've stored my contacts in water before, and noticed that they did seem a little weaker (as in, more prone to tearing), but once I replaced the water with contact solution and let them soak for a bit, they seemed okay. I don't know if you mean this, but soaking them in water and them putting in your eyes won't work as your eyes will reject the contacts and make your life miserable (or, at least mine did the one and only time I tried that stunt).

I don't see why the daily cleaner wouldn't work, as long as it's only for one night.
posted by Zosia Blue at 8:37 PM on May 31, 2006

I've done it. It's briefly uncomfortable to put them back in, and you shouldn't make a habit of it, but... one night probably won't kill you, or make your eyes fall out.

I'm not sure about the cleaner, but it would probably be the same kinda thing.

IANAOptometrist, this is my experience in being an irresponsible contact-wearer.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 8:44 PM on May 31, 2006

It's fine, but it will hurt a bit more when they go back in because you will disturb the balance of salts in your eye. Tear up a bit and all will be well. Of course, why bother taking them out. It's nice to wake up and be abe to see, no?
posted by caddis at 9:20 PM on May 31, 2006

I've soaked my contacts in water before with no ill effects. I've also slept in them and worn them continously for months with few ill effects. If you're worried, can you store the contacts in water and wear your glasses until you can get home and properly clean and soak the contacts with saline solution? The daily cleaner is probably fine too-- just so long as it's not the peroxide kind. If it says "do not put in eyes" near the cap or the bottle has a red tip, DO NOT PUT IN EYES! OR soak your contacts in it! I have some really dense friends, apparently, because several have gotten confused by peroxide solution and burned their eyeballs with it.
posted by bonheur at 10:09 PM on May 31, 2006

I've used water and had to throw the contacts away. They got super thick and hurt, and not just for a few minutes. When I took them off, they stuck to my eye and didn't want to come. So, I don't know how these people did it. Maybe you can do it for shorter periods, or maybe it depends how hard the water is.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 11:00 PM on May 31, 2006

Theoretically you can do it, but it's not a great idea. You risk getting bacterial, fungal and *shudder* amoeba infections in your eyes from doing so (some info here).

If you must, you should boil the water first.
posted by Kimberly at 11:16 PM on May 31, 2006

I've tried it too and it hurt like hell. Couldn't you use the daily cleaner to rinse them after storing them?

My optician would frown upon leaving them in, but then who hasn't done it...
posted by ClarissaWAM at 1:15 AM on June 1, 2006

Only piece of information I have is this: my optometrist told me that leaving them in a glass of water can possibly cause you to go blind due to amoebal infections. Either leave them in, or thrown them away.
posted by number9dream at 2:53 AM on June 1, 2006

I suppose it depends on whether your disposables are hard or soft. I've left soft lenses in my eyes overnight with no ill-effects.

Is your tap water fluoridated? I suppose that would be a factor too. Personally, I wouldn't risk it.
posted by randomination at 4:59 AM on June 1, 2006

Why face any risk when you could just spend under $5 for some sterile contact lens fluids at a drugstore????
posted by Fupped Duck at 6:26 AM on June 1, 2006

I'm not familiar with that brand of cleaner in particular, but in general contact cleaners are pretty caustic and should never touch your eyes without having been rinsed and soaked in saline. If it doesn't say "all-in-one" or soaking solution/disinfectant on the bottle, storing your contacts in it is a Bad Idea.

I've had bad luck with just water, so I also recommend just leaving them in. Do you have any Visine or liquid tears stuff lying around? Most households have a bottle somewhere. Refresher eye drops are basically just saline. I probably wouldn't store your contacts over night in the stuff, but it will work well as a refresher in the morning.
posted by miagaille at 7:07 AM on June 1, 2006

It also depends on the size of the lenses. I'm a -8.5/-9, which requires some very thick lenses. Sleeping in them is very uncomfortable in the morning, and makes me much more susceptible to corneal damage.

I've used water overnight, and they were somewhat stiff in the morning, but after reading about amoebas I'm definitely not doing that again.

Why face any risk when you could just spend under $5 for some sterile contact lens fluids at a drugstore????

You've obviously never had a one-night stand somewhere without public transportation. I envy you that.
posted by ChasFile at 7:19 AM on June 1, 2006

One drunken night in Maine we were too drunk to drive through the small town we were visiting to get back to the place we were staying. Our host, a doctor, made a few drunken phone calls to friends in emergency rooms and came up with a recipe for normal saline.
We mixed it up, popped out our lenses into paper cups, and passed out in their spare bedroom.
I now keep the recipe in my wallet.

Recipe for Normal Saline Solution

It is very important to use fresh normal saline because bacteria can grow in saline and bacteria can cause infections. If you are buying normal saline, buy individual-use packs only. It is cheaper and often more convenient to make a fresh supply of normal saline every day.

To make your own saline solution:
Mix 8 ounces of tap water (1 measuring cup) with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of table salt and a pinch of baking soda.

Keep the saline in a bottle or glass for a maximum of 24 hours. Then throw the solution away, wash the container, and make a new solution.
posted by Floydd at 7:20 AM on June 1, 2006 [2 favorites]

The url I linked to above talks about homemade saline solution as well, and the "for godsakes boil the water first" thing still applies.
posted by Kimberly at 9:17 AM on June 1, 2006

The one time I stored mine in daily cleaner, I had to throw them away. I do not recommend it. After I put them in, they burned and the sensation never went away. I had to take them out and get a new pair. YMMV. If I were you, I'd either leave them in, or try to get back to the pharmacy for saline solution. You can also buy saline at grocery stores, possibly even a gas station.
posted by cass at 11:24 AM on June 1, 2006

On the Alcon website I found the ingredient list: OPTI-FREE® Daily Cleaner contains Tween* 21 Solubilizer, Microclens* special polymeric cleaning agents and POLYQUAD® preservative and edetate disodium as preservatives.
These at least have preservatives, making them much safer than tap water-based options.
posted by todhovis at 1:28 PM on June 1, 2006

Response by poster: I wound up sleeping with the lens in last night, as fears of possible infections kept me from risking water. I'll have to keep that homemade saline solution recipe in case of emergencies, thanks Floydd!
posted by Darke at 8:20 PM on June 1, 2006

This hand wringing by everyone is pretty funny. B&L introduced 30 day lenses twenty some years ago. By today's standards they should have been marketed as morning lenses, yet people still wore them for 30 days at a stretch (some much longer). One overnight with the lenses in is nothing to fear.
posted by caddis at 9:31 PM on June 1, 2006

« Older Puzzling WinXP error   |   o/` all we want is live beyond kidney stones o/` Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.