Research performed by Bausch & Lomb this past August revealed that many individuals are using potentially harmful lubricants in place of contact solution to wet their lenses. Everything from baby oil, to fruit juice to petroleum jelly was reportedly used as an alternative to proper contact solution by 20% of the two thousand adults surveyed in the UK.
A larger number of the respondants indicated that they use spit when inserting their contacts. Considering we know that the average adult mouth contains hundreds of different types of bacteria, this can pose a serious health risk to your eyes. Further, many individuals presume that water from a tap or bottle is a suitable replacement for lens solution, however even pure bottled water or distilled water can contain parasites that can cause damage to the eye and have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, an infection that threatens your eyesight. Even moreso, if you get water in your eyes from a pool, ocean or even a bath while wearing your lenses, it's recommended to remove your lenses as quickly as you can and disinfect them so no bacteria can get stuck to the surface of your eye.
The only fluid that you should use to rinse, cleanse, lubricate or soak your lenses is approved contact solution. Don't ever store your contacts in water! Leaving contacts in water does not thoroughly clean them and dangerous fungi can multiply on your contacts almost instantly and eventually enter your eyes. Further, lens solution is balanced to match the acidity of your tears and water on the other hand can cause a reaction which makes your contacts change shape or stick causing discomfort and blurred vision.
If you know that you do not have the means to properly disinfect your contact lenses, you should definitely try to use one-use lenses rather than resusable lenses. Be sure to take into consideration your daily routine when you are choosing which type of contacts to purchase.
Only those who can understand how to properly care for contacts and how important this is should wear contacts, particularly long-term wear contacts. Failure to do so can cause irreversible damage to the eyes, vision loss and even blindness!