contact lens solution incompatibility

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Contact Lens Solution Incompatibilities

When you first get your contacts your practitioner will recommend certain solutions for your specific contact lenses. This is because he/she is aware what solutions, or combinations of solutions, work best for your particular type of contacts. Not following these recommendations can damage the lenses.

It is easy to be tempted to deviate from the recommendations. A different product that appears the same may be on sale, or the generic brand is cheaper. Multi-purpose solutions contain all the ingredients and are designed to help with the cost of contact lens care, but “topping off” the solution seems like a great way to save money. Saline solution is cheaper than multi-purpose so you try substituting it.

This reasoning is understandable, but these choices will ruin your contacts and in the long run cost you more money. “Topping off’ for example can result in infection. Solution becomes less effective after the first use, so you might not be getting the type of cleaning you think you are. When “topping off”, if the tip of the solution bottle accidentally becomes inserted into the cup, what is in the cup can become contaminated, or old solution can be sucked up into the bottle, contaminating everything in it.

There are many known contact lens solution incompatibilities. Many are unique to soft or hard contact lenses. Your doctor is aware of these and has made recommendations with them in mind.


  • Changing from one cold contact disinfecting solution to another with out first changing lenses causes precipitates to form on the lens.
  • Using a tablet neutralizer with a catalase in a case containing a catalytic disc causes the disc to become gummy and neutralization will be incomplete.
  • Bubbles will form on the inner layer of the laminates if any sandwich technology lens is disinfected with a hydrogen peroxide system containing Ultracare.
  • Sag depth will occur when silicone hydrogel lenses are disinfected with Ultracare.
  • Complications occur when Pure Vision hydrogel lenses are treated with ReNu Multiplus.
  • Isopropyl alcohol in solution can distort the shape of the lenses.


  • Polyvinyl alcohol solutions combined with Borate buffered solutions will form a sticky gel on the lens.
  • Generic peroxide may cause scratching and scuffing.
  • Styrene lenses cleaned with chlorhexide preserved solutions will cloud the surface of the lens.
  • Mixing solutions from different manufacturers or using household products as cleaners will cause itching, burning, hazy vision and surface deposits. More severe problems such as SPK, hydrophopic surface spotting, or mild epithelial edema may also occur.

By these examples it is easy to see why it is so important to follow your doctors recommendations. Take care of your contact lenses, skimp somewhere else.

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