Is it Safe to Store Contact Lenses Without Solution?

Contact lenses are a convenient alternative to glasses, but they require proper care to keep your eyes healthy. During the day, your lenses stay moist naturally while in your eyes. However, overnight storage requires soaking them in contact lens solution. 

The Importance of Proper Contact Lens Care

Unlike glasses that sit on your face, contact lenses are in direct contact with your eyes. This means they need to be meticulously clean and soft for optimal comfort and vision correction. An eye exam is necessary to determine the right prescription for your contact lenses. Maintaining a daily care routine, including cleaning and soaking in solution overnight, is essential for healthy lens use.

Daily Contact Lens Care Routine

Here's a general guideline for your daily contact lens care routine:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling your contact lenses.
  2. Use a clean contact lens case (replace every 3 months) filled with fresh solution.
  3. Gently rub each lens with solution to remove any debris or build-up.
  4. Rinse the lens thoroughly and place it in the solution chamber.
  5. Repeat with the other lens, then close the case tightly.

Rehydrating Dried-Out Contact Lenses

If your contact lenses dry out, you might be able to salvage them. As long as there's no visible damage, soak them in fresh solution for 24 hours. If they still feel uncomfortable, discard them and use a fresh pair.

The Benefits of Contact Lens Solution

Contact lens solution serves several important purposes. It acts as a cleaning agent, removing any gunk that accumulates on the lenses during wear. This cleaning and disinfecting process removes bacteria and fungi that can irritate your eyes. Soaking your lenses in solution overnight also keeps them soft and pliable, for comfortable wear.

The Dangers of Skipping Contact Lens Solution

Leaving your contact lenses without solution can have serious consequences. Besides harboring germs and bacteria, your lenses can dry out, warp, or even tear. Dry lenses are uncomfortable, while warped lenses may not properly correct your vision. Torn lenses can scratch your cornea and compromise your vision.

The Importance of Proper Storage

As a general rule, if your contact lenses are out of their case or solution for more than 30 minutes, it's best to discard them and use a fresh pair. Maintaining a backup supply of lenses and a subscription service for convenient home delivery can help avoid situations where you're caught without a fresh pair.

Keeping Your Contact Lenses Fresh

For optimal comfort and hygiene, contact lenses require daily soaking in fresh solution. If you find yourself without solution, it's safer to discard your lenses and use a fresh pair. Unopened contact lens solution has a reasonable shelf life, so you shouldn't be without it for long. Click here to read our full guide on contact lens solution usage and start enjoying healthy, comfortable vision.


Can I use water/saline/other liquids instead of solution? 

No, contact lens solution is specially formulated for your lenses. Tap water contains microorganisms that can harm your eyes. Saline solution may clean the lenses somewhat, but it lacks the disinfection properties of proper solution.

Can I reuse contact lens solution? 

Officially, no. You should always use fresh solution. Unofficially, you might get away with reusing solution once if it's not contaminated. However, using fresh solution is always the safest option.

Can I make my own contact lens solution? 

No, contact lens solution is a complex formula. It's not safe to create a substitute at home. Fortunately, solution is readily available and affordable at most drugstores.