Contact lens wearers practice proper eye hygiene. Research performed by Bausch & Lomb this past summer determined that an alarming number of individuals were using strange substances in place of lens solution to wet their lenses. Everything from baby oil, to beer to petroleum jelly was reportedly used as an alternative to proper lens solution by one eighth of the 2,000 adults that responded in the UK.
An even larger number of the respondants reported that they use spit when putting lenses in their eyes. Considering that the mouth of the average adult is known to house hundreds of different types of bacteria, this can pose a serious health risk to your eyes. Additionally, far too many individuals believe that water from a tap or bottle is a safe alternative for lens solution, although even those can contain microorganisms that can damage the eye and have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, a sight-threatening infection. Even moreso, if you get water in your eyes when swimming or bathing while your lenses are in, it's recommended to take out your lenses as soon as you can and thoroughly rinse them so no bacteria can get stuck underneath.
The only liquid that should be used to wash, cleanse, lubricate or soak your lenses is proper lens solution. It's dangerous to store your lenses in water! Storing contact lenses in water does not sterilize them and dangerous fungi can grow on your lenses within minutes and eventually enter your eyes. Further, lens solution is balanced to match the saltiness of the tear film in your eyes and conversely water can cause a reaction which makes your contacts change shape or stick causing discomfort and blurred vision.
At times that necessary storage or cleansing is not possible for you, you should try to use one-use lenses rather than lenses that you reuse. It's essential to take age, way of life and level of responsibility into consideration when determining which contact lens options are best for you.
Keep in mind that failure to properly care for your contacts with approved contact lens solution can lead to irreversible damage to the eyes, vision loss and even total blindness!