RGP cleaning is accomplished with both surfactant cleaners and enzyme products. Some surfactant cleaners contain mild abrasives, others mild solvents and all have a detergent formula for good cleaning. To remove protein build-up you should use an enzymatic cleaner from time to time (recommended once a week). Today’s RGP enzyme cleaners are liquid and used directly in the overnight disinfecting solution. The enzyme tablets used with soft lenses will not harm RGP lenses, but often are dissolved in saline solution, requiring the RGP lenses to be properly disinfected before wearing. There are also enzyme tablets that can be used with conditioning and disinfecting solutions.
If you do not clean your contact lenses regularly your eyes can get irritated and you’ll have difficulties wearing your contacts. This can lead eye damage. Bacteria, harmful substances and other build-up can get on to your contacts while you are wearing them. These substances have to be removed on a daily basis in order to ensure clear sight and, even more important, comfort for your eyes.
Because RGP lenses are resistant to deposits they require less care than soft lenses. However, proper lens care is a key ingredient in successful contact lens wear. To care for your RGP lenses, you should use the following lens care products:
- Daily Cleaner
- Soaking (disinfecting) Solution
- Wetting Solution
- Enzyme cleaner
Tips on RGP contact lens care:
- Any time a contact lens is removed from the eye it must be cleaned and disinfected before being reinserted.
- Your eye doctor may recommend occasional enzyme cleaning to digest any protein on your lenses. Some patients deposit more protein on their lenses than others, so not all RGP lenses need enzyme treatment. (Enzyme cleaning is particularly helpful to patients with GPC or allergies.)
- Tap water should never be used to clean or store your lenses.
- Wetting solutions increase RGP lens comfort by cushioning the cornea as the lens is inserted.
- With careful cleaning and disinfection, many RGP lenses can last two years or more. Because they require less care and last much longer than soft lenses, RGP lenses usually, but not always, cost less over time than soft lenses.