Contact Lens Solutions

Thursday, 20 November 2008 | Tags: , , ,

All contact lens solutions are designed for the same basic function: to clean and disinfect your lenses. Though they may all seem the same, we take a closer look to see if one stands out from the rest.

The Basics

  • Despite different labels and claims, most solutions contain a similar complex string of chemicals designed to clean, rinse, lubricate, disinfect and remove proteins from your lenses.

  • There are two typical daily cleaning systems:

    • Multi-step systems have a first step that contains surfactants to clean debris, dirt, oils and mucus from the lens. The other steps rinse, disinfect, lubricate and remove protein build up.

    • All-in-one solutions don’t require any extra steps. You just put your lenses into a special case and leave them for a minimum amount of time for the disinfecting and cleaning to work.

Other Considerations

  • Always pay attention to your eye doctor’s lens solution recommendations.

  • People with overly sensitive eyes may want to stick with solutions that have no preservatives. They are made up primarily of hydrogen peroxide, but at low enough concentrations that it won’t irritate the eyes.

  • If you use daily or monthly contact lenses, proteins don’t have a chance to build up.

Be Aware

  • Don’t be tempted to switch brands just because you see a different product on sale. Your eyes may not be as happy with a different solution and it’s not uncommon to have an allergic reaction or sensitivity to the different preservatives found in the solutions.

  • Putting your lenses back in your eyes too soon after using an all-in-one system can create major irritation since the chemicals haven’t had enough time to neutralize. Always read the directions on the bottle!


We tested these four all-in-one, no rub solutions to see if one kept our eyes more focused than another.

Our test products: .  
  • Equate: $1.40 /100 ml
. .
  • Opti-Free Express: $2.10 /100 ml
. . Well.ca Drugstore.com
  • Bausch & Laumb Renu: $2.81 /100 ml
. . Well.ca Drugstore.com
  • Complete: $2.84 /100 ml
. . Well.ca

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Disinfecting Test

Kristina donated 2 pairs of old contacts, cut each one in half and soaked them in each of our solutions for a week to see what results we’d get:

  • After the week, all lenses were clean and bacteria-free.

Comfort Test

Our testers rated each solution for how it left their eyes feeling:

  • Complete was the only one that left all our testers with non-irritated eyes.

  • The Opti Free and Equate left the eyes a little dry

  • After 3 or 4 days another tester found that Equate started to cause some discomfort.


Contact lens solutions vary from person to person: what one person might find comfortable may create a reaction in another. They all do the same job, but be sure to follow the recommendations of your eye doctor.



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