Regardless of how they are packaged, most lens care systems include products that perform six different functions. Some systems combine two or more functions into one product while others keep them separate. The functions required are dependent upon the type of lens regimen and your eyes and will be discussed with you as part of a contact lens training program.
The six different functions performed by soft lens care systems are:
Daily Cleaning to remove debris accumulated and adhering loosely to the lens. This debris, if not removed, can eventually make the lenses uncomfortable, interfere with vision and reduce the ability of the disinfecting solution to kill potentially harmful microorganisms. In addition, the cleaning solutions perform the first step in the disinfection process.
Disinfecting to kill growing forms of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) on the lenses.
Rinsing and Storing requires the use of an ophthalmic isotonic saline solution or may be performed with some types of disinfectant solution. Most saline solutions are not suitable for storage of lenses, as they do not contain anything to kill or prevent the growth of microorganisms.
Comfort or Lubricating Drops are used to provide refreshment for dry eyes, in conditions of low humidity or for added comfort near the end of the wearing day.
Protein Removal removes stubborn protein deposits and, with daily cleaning and disinfection, helps restore a clean, fresh contact lens surface. Protein removal is generally not required for planned replacement lenses, which are replaced before the deposits can cause difficulties.