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Effortless Solutions: Removing Protein Deposits from Contact Lenses

Sep 23,2023 | MCLEYE

Protein buildup on colored contact lenses often poses a frequent and bothersome problem for those who wear them. These deposits not only diminish the clarity of your vision but also disrupt the comfort of your lenses. In this article, we will explore the nature of protein deposits, and their impact on your contact lenses, and, most crucially, offer straightforward and convenient solutions to keep your lenses clear and comfortable.

Does your contact lenses really clean out?

What are "Protein Deposits"?

If you’re an athlete, a high-protein diet is great.

But what about your contact lenses?

Proteins in tears are crucial for maintaining eye health, but they can accumulate on contact lenses, especially soft ones. This buildup can cause discomfort, cloudy vision, and eye irritation. If left unchecked, it may even trigger an immune response, making the lenses unwearable. To prevent this, contact lens wearers must maintain strict hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection routines to keep their lenses free of protein deposits and ensure eye comfort and safety.

How Will Protein Deposits Affect Wearing Contact Lenses? 

Protein deposits on contact lenses can indeed have a significant impact on your overall contact lens experience. The buildup of these protein deposits has negative effects:

1. Discomfort and Irritation: Protein deposits can create an uneven and rough surface on the contact lens. This altered surface can cause discomfort and irritation when the lens interacts with the sensitive tissues of the eye. Many wearers describe a sensation of having a foreign object in the eye, leading to constant itching, redness, and a feeling of irritation.

2. Increased Risk of Infection: Protein deposits provide an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. When bacteria multiply on the lens surface, it significantly increases the risk of eye infections. These infections can range from mild forms like conjunctivitis (pink eye) to more serious conditions that can potentially lead to vision loss if left untreated.

3. Reduced Visual Acuity: As protein deposits accumulate on the surface of the lens, they can obscure the clarity of the lens. This can lead to blurred or hazy vision, making it difficult to see clearly. Reduced visual acuity can be particularly problematic for people who rely on contact lenses for activities such as driving, reading, or participating in sports.

4. Contact Lens Intolerance: Prolonged exposure to protein deposits can trigger an allergic response in some individuals. This allergic reaction can lead to symptoms like redness, itching, excessive tearing, and discomfort. In severe cases, it can result in contact lens intolerance, where the person can no longer wear contact lenses comfortably and may need to switch to glasses or consider other vision correction options.

How Will Protein Deposits Affect Wearing Contact Lenses 

How and Why of Contact Lens Deposits?

Protein deposits on contact lenses can occur as a result of a variety of reasons. Here's an explanation of how these components interact to cause protein buildup:

1. Contact Lens Material: Certain materials, such as hydrogel, are more prone to accumulating and maintaining protein deposits. This is due to the fact that their surface characteristics make them more prone to protein attachment.

2. Improper Lens Handling: If contact lenses are not managed properly, they can acquire deposits called lens calculi, which are made up of lipids, proteins, and calcium. These deposits form circular lumps on the lens's front surface, which contribute to protein buildup over time.

3. Environmental Debris: Makeup or hair product debris can enter the eye and attach to the contact lens accidentally. This foreign material can contribute to protein deposits on the lens and produce blurriness.

4. Iron Deposits from Tap Water: Rinsing or storing contact lenses in tap water can cause the production of brown-to-orange iron deposits. It is critical to avoid cleaning contact lenses with tap water since it might introduce pollutants and cause protein buildup.

5. Fungal Deposits: Storing many pairs of contact lenses together, particularly color lenses, might produce an environment favorable to fungal development. Additionally, exceeding the recommended wear time can also encourage fungal deposits on the lenses, which contributes to protein buildup.

6. Windy and chilly surroundings: Windy or chilly surroundings might cause eye dryness. Despite the fact that the eyes generate tears to lubricate themselves, these situations may cause residue to form on the contact lens. Protein adhesion and buildup on the lens are aided by dryness and residue.

How do you know if you’re a high-protein depositor?

Protein and lipid deposits can manifest as visible bumps on the surface of your contact lenses. Alternatively, they can lead to a cloudy layer that hinders your vision. However, in many instances, the effects of denatured protein and lipid deposits are more tactile than visual.

For instance, a layer of lipid deposits can leave your lenses feeling dry and causing discomfort. This reduced hydration can also result in the sensation that your lenses no longer fit properly. Similarly, redness and irritation in your eyes could be indicative of denatured proteins triggering an immune response, leading to bloodshot eyes as a sign of inflammation.

It is always advisable to consult your eye doctor to confirm whether these issues are solely due to tear film deposits and not a more serious condition, such as an eye infection.

How do you know if you’re a high-protein depositor

      • Experiencing cloudy vision?
        The accumulation of tear film on your lenses can create an opaque layer, making it challenging to see clearly.
      • Feeling redness, itching, and irritation in your eyes?
        Contact lens deposits can sometimes develop into eye-irritating bumps, or denatured protein deposits can provoke an inflammatory immune response.
      • Are your contact lenses causing dryness?
        Tear film deposits may be the culprit, as a layer of fatty acids can impede proper lens rehydration.

How To Remove Protein Buildup From Contacts?

Removing protein buildup from contact lenses is an essential part of maintaining good eye health and ensuring the longevity of your contacts. Protein buildup can make your lenses uncomfortable and affect your vision. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to remove protein buildup from your contact lenses:

    • Materials You'll Need:
      1. Contact lens cleaning solution (either multipurpose or enzymatic cleaner)
      2. Contact lens case
      3. Contact lens rewetting drops (optional)
      4. Clean, dry hands
      5. Towel or tissue

Step 1: Wash Your Hands
Start by thoroughly washing your hands with a mild, fragrance-free soap. Rinse your hands thoroughly and dry them with a lint-free towel or tissue. Avoid using moisturizing soaps or lotions that may leave residue on your fingers.

Step 2: Remove the Contacts
Carefully remove one contact lens from your eye using the appropriate technique, either the "pinch" or "slide" method. Make sure to handle the lens gently to avoid tearing or damaging it.

Step 3: Rinse with Multipurpose Solution
Hold the lens in the palm of your hand and apply a few drops of multipurpose contact lens cleaning solution to both sides of the lens. This solution is designed to clean, disinfect, and remove protein buildup. Rub the lens gently with your fingertip using a back-and-forth motion for about 20-30 seconds.

Step 4: Rinse Again
Rinse the lens thoroughly with the more multipurpose solution to remove any remaining debris, dirt, or protein buildup. Avoid using tap water, as it can contain harmful microorganisms that can adhere to your lenses.

Step 5: Soak in Enzymatic Cleaner (Optional)
If your contacts have a stubborn protein buildup that doesn't come off with the multipurpose solution alone, you can use an enzymatic cleaner. Follow the instructions on the enzymatic cleaner's packaging for the recommended soaking time. Typically, you'll soak the lens for several hours or overnight.

Step 6: Rinse Again
After soaking in the enzymatic cleaner (if applicable), rinse the lens thoroughly with the multipurpose solution to remove any remaining enzymatic cleaner residue.

Step 7: Store in Fresh Solution
Place the cleaned contact lens in a clean contact lens case filled with a fresh multipurpose solution. Make sure the lens is fully submerged. Replace the solution in your contact lens case daily to prevent bacterial growth.

Step 8: Repeat for the Other Lens
Repeat the above steps for the other contact lens.

Step 9: Insert and Use Rewetting Drops (Optional)
Before inserting the lenses back into your eyes, you can use rewetting drops if you find them comfortable. This can help ensure that your lenses are moist and comfortable throughout the day.

  • Additional Tips:
    - Follow the specific instructions provided by your eye care professional or the lens manufacturer for cleaning and caring for your particular type of contact lenses.
    - Replace your contact lens case regularly, ideally every three months, to prevent bacterial contamination.
    - Avoid using homemade saline solutions or tap water to clean your contacts, as these can lead to eye infections.

If you continue to experience discomfort or protein buildup despite proper cleaning, consult your eye care professional. They can recommend alternative cleaning methods or potentially switch you to different contact lens materials that are less prone to protein buildup.

What is the Best Solution to Remove Protein Buildup From Contacts?

To effectively remove protein deposits from your contact lenses, you can consider integrating these solutions into your contact lens care routine based on your preferences and lifestyle:

1. Multi-Purpose Solution: Use it daily for cleaning and rinsing, but be cautious if you're sensitive to preservatives.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide Solution: Provides deep cleaning and disinfection, but requires a neutralization process. Follow instructions carefully, some may need neutralizing tablets.

3. Saline Solution: Use for rinsing and storing lenses, especially in combination with other solutions. It doesn't effectively remove protein buildup.

What is the Best Solution to Remove Protein Buildup From Contacts

Integrated Routine:
- Morning: Rinse lenses with saline solution to remove debris.
- Morning Cleaning: Use hydrogen peroxide solution and follow neutralization steps.
- Evening: Clean and rinse lenses with the multi-purpose solution.
- Before storing: Soak lenses in fresh saline solution.

Always follow package instructions and consult your eye care professional for personalized recommendations.

Preventative Measures To Reduce Protein Buildup:

Here are some proactive steps you can take to reduce the accumulation of protein deposits on your contact lenses:
1. Adhere to the cleaning regimen recommended by your eye care specialist for your lenses.

2. Keep your eyes adequately moisturized by using preservative-free lubricating eye drops.

3. Refrain from touching your lenses with unclean hands.

4. Prioritize good hygiene practices, including thorough handwashing before touching your lenses.

5. Think about switching to daily disposable contact lenses as a strategy to minimize protein buildup. 

6. Stay mindful of environmental factors that can contribute to protein deposits, such as exposure to smoky or dusty surroundings.

Maintaining clean and comfortable contact lenses is crucial for both eye health and overall comfort. By comprehending the impact of protein deposits and adhering to the recommendations and remedies offered in this article, you can enjoy crisp vision and irritation-free wear. It is advisable to regularly consult with your eye care specialist to address any protein buildup concerns and ensure a hassle-free experience with your contact lenses. Giving utmost importance to lens care is the cornerstone of achieving effortless, crystal-clear vision.

**This article does not provide medical advice, and it is not meant to substitute the guidance of a qualified medical professional. If you have specific questions or concerns, please consult with your eye care practitioner.

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