Allergies From Contact Lens Solutions

Learn about the ingredients within in contact lens solutions that may trigger some allergies.

Allergies are an abnormal response to a substance or chemical in your body. A small percentage of people develop allergies when they begin to use contact lenses, along with certain contact lens solutions. When using contact lens solutions, allergies can cause redness, discomfort, itching and inflammation to your eyes. Thimerosal is a preservative in ophthalmic products, as well as other products, and is found in many different contact lens solutions. Thimerosal was one of the main culprits for people who experience contact lens solution allergic reactions, so in recent times, contact lens solution manufacturers make solutions without this preservative.

How Allergies Occur

Allergic reactions to ingredients in contact lens solutions may still occur even after thorough cleaning and disinfecting. Some individuals also have allergic reactions to the solutions used with rigid contact lenses. Other chemicals in the solutions can cause allergies and reactions may develop at any time, even after you have used the same contact lens products for months or years.

How You Can Treat Your Allergies

One alternative is to discontinue contact lens wear for a period of time. another option is the use of prescription eye drops to relieve the redness, inflammation and discomfort cause by the allergies. some eye drops are also now available over the counter and will provide similar relief. Clean your contact lenses after each use to removes the debris that attract the substances that may trigger an allergic reaction.

How to Prevent Allergies

An appropriate response to contact lens solution allergies is to use products labeled “sensitive eyes” or “thimerosal-free”. Nowadays, most solutions are of this kind. Check all products to ensure yourself you’re not using those products that have chemicals that may be causing your allergies. your eye care practitioner may recommend that you see an allergist in an effort to determine your specific allergies.

You can also consider wearing daily disposable lenses since they avoid the buildup of allergens on the lens surface and also eliminate exposure to disinfecting solutions and lens cleaning products that may cause allergic reactions. Another possibility is to discontinue contact lens wear or to, at least, use contacts on a part-time basis.

Still, if glasses are not an option for you, you may need to switch to preservative-free care products. Some of these have what’s called a “disappearin” preservative that’s gone before the solution comes in contact with your eyes. hydrogen peroxide systems are preservative-free. The neutralizing step eliminates the preservative and makes the solution less irritating to your eyes. Look for products that are preservative free, but have an expiration date. Non-aerosol preservative-free saline will generally last about two weeks after opening.

This article was last updated on 01/2013