After inserting your contact lenses and rinsing the case with disinfectant, do you let the case air-dry face-up or face-down?

Face-down seems to be better according to a recent study published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.  The study evaluated microbial contamination in contact lens cases placed in four different locations: the bathroom vanity, on the toilet, in the office and the bedroom. The cases were rinsed with sterile saline and placed on facial tissue paper.

The study showed that cases dried face-up were  significantly more contaminated than the face-down cases; 71 percent vs. 12 percent. For the face-up cases, the humid environments (bathroom vanity and toilet) produced more contamination than the non-humid environments (office and bedroom). But for the face-down cases, the contamination amounts were similar across all four environments. Equally remarkable, 33 percent of all the contact lens cases were contaminated with multiple species of bacteria and/or fungi, not just one species.

What about contact lens solutions? In the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) American Eye-Q survey, a significantly high number of patients reported they soaked or cleaned their lenses in water. Unfortunately, water contaminates lenses because it contains microorganisms that are harmful to the eyes. These organisms can cause serious, even blinding eye infections.  Twelve percent of the respondents from the same survey said they store their contacts in something other than a contact lens case.  Again, this allows bacteria to grow on the lenses and potentially lead to eye infections.

It is imperative that to maintain a healthy eye free from inflammation and infection, an appropriate multipurpose disinfection solution in a proper case must be used.  Cockrell Eyecare Center doctors urge patients to use non generic brand name disinfecting solutions.  Generics are absolutely not the same when it comes to disinfecting and storing.

In addition to using the appropriate multipurpose disinfection solutions, a 2011 study published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science demonstrated that gently rubbing your lenses proves to add safety.  The study evaluated a number of brand name multipurpose disinfection solutions revealing that, regardless of lens type, manually rubbing the lenses under a steady stream of fresh solution for several seconds, followed by storing in fresh solution killed the most bacteria and fungi.   Just rinsing without rubbing didn’t work as well. It also showed that just removing the lenses and putting them in fresh solution without rinsing was the least effective method for disinfection. Microorganisms adhere to contact lenses and the only sure way to remove most or all of them is to rub the lenses, especially when the contacts are made of a silicone hydrogel material which is currently one of the most popular contact lens material prescribed.  Don’t forget of course to wash your hands first!

If you have questions concerning contact lens care, please contact one of our offices in Stillwater at 405-372-1715 or Pawnee at 918-762-2573.  We also invite you to visit our website at and like us on Facebook at Cockrell Eye Care Center!

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