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Water Safety

Dates

January 8-20, 2020

Participants

536

Rebecca's comments

Doctors, as you’ll see from these survey results, there is a significant need for increased awareness of acanthamoeba risk amongst scleral lens users. My hope is that this survey will prompt you to review your patient instruction practices, verbal and written, with respect to rinsing scleral lenses with water. Explaining acanthamoeba to your patients makes your instructions more memorable. Providing written instructions helps ensure that it doesn’t get lost in the complexity of scleral lens adaptation. Comparing your policy to the simple tap water guidance for contact lens users on the FDA, CDC, AOA, AAO, and SLES websites helps prevent confusion amongst patients over mixed messages.

Fellow scleral lens users, it’s clear from this survey that many of us are not aware that water is “a thing”. Please read up. It is very much a thing. That is, acanthamoeba is a SCARY little thing. It strikes rarely, but when it does, it’s devastating. And the fact that disinfection solutions may not neutralize acanthamoeba… is little known and not intuitive. Using saline instead of water is a very simple way to drastically reduce the risk. When you see people online who say that they have rinsed their contacts with water every day for 50 years and suffered no harm, remind yourself that some people drive without a seatbelt and never have an accident and suffer no harm, but that still doesn’t make it a smart, science-based choice. Another thing that is clear from user comments on this survey is that some of us have learned more about this risk online than from our lens providers. 

If My Big Fat Scleral Lens (Facebook group) and/or our sites and emails have helped you in this regard, the best way for you to pay it forward is to engage in dialogue with your lens provider about the need for all patients to be given written instructions for scleral lens care (including water safety). Each one of us can make a difference in raising awareness!

Results

Part 1: Are you allowing water to come in contact with your scleral lenses in the following ways:

Rinsing lenses with waterShowering while wearing lensesSwimming while wearing lenses


Part 2: For those who RINSE their lenses with water:

WHY are you rinsing your lenses with water?

  • 17%: My doctor told me to
  • 22%: It's convenient
  • 16%: Saline is too expensive
  • 19%: I don't know of any reason not to
  • 22%: Water gets the cleaning solution off better.
  • 3%: Other reasons

WHEN are you rinsing your lenses with water?

  • 40% Only before disinfection
  • 60%: Before insertion (after disinfection)

Part 3: What is your scleral lens provider telling you about rinsing your lenses with water?

I understand my instructions to be:

  • 28% N/A: I do not recall any instructions being given about this.
  • 7% I can rinse my lenses with water.
  • 16% I can rinse with water subject to certain conditions.
  • 49% I should only rinse my lenses with saline, not water.

My provider has spoken to me about this:

My provider has given me written instructions about the following aspects of water safety:

Rinsing lensesWashing cases, plungers, etc
ShoweringSwimming

Part 4: Comments, comments and more comments!

A. About showering and swimming with sclerals

  • I have showered twice but protected my eyes to keep soap and water out of them by holding a dry clean washcloth over them.
  • I have snorkeled and swam in the ocean no problem with my lenses on. I always shower with them on. 
  • I have worn them while in the pool but I am not submerging my face.
  • I haven't had any problem. I would still wear them if I went swimming.
  • I keep my eyes closed when my face is in the water
  • I keep my eyes closed when showering.
  • I keep my eyes shut while showering and wear googles if I swim. I’ve been told that some people put Vaseline around their eyelids when they swim or snorkel 
  • I never considered it a question. I always was quite concerned of the water or chemicals damaging the lens. I also fear the possibility of a lens being "washed" away in the water. 
  • I never knew this was bad until the dry eye facebook group!!! Thanks. Showered and swam with my contacts all my life before that, and so did my son. We both stopped once we learned from your guidance.
  • I only shower with them in if I need to, later in the day. if so, i do am extremely careful with shampooing my hair - I am EXTREMELY careful. 
  • I only shower with them when I’m not washing my hair and getting my head wet. I use the hand held shower head.
  • I probably shower 4x a week with them in. I also do water aerobics with them in, but my face doesn’t get wet.
  • I put my contacts on first thing in the morning before showering and shower after workouts wearing lens, but water doesn't go directly in eyes
  • I put my lenses in as soon as I get up in the morning, whether I take a shower or not. I like the freedom of scleral contacts because I can actually wear them in the shower and see when I'm showering!
  • I really can't safely shower without my lenses because I have very little vision without them. I have been showering with contact lenses of some sort for 50 years.
  • I shower before I insert my lenses
  • I shower daily with no problems while wearing my lenses. I keep the water out of my eyes. I haven’t swam in a while. 
  • I shower just like I normally do whether I have my scleral lenses in or not. Makes no difference to me. I just need to be gentle when washing my face or putting my face under the water.
  • I shower with my lenses rarely. 
  • If I swim, I wear fitted goggles such as speedos, arena, the finals, etc. I do not wear cheap goggles. I tighten them properly and can dive in and do flip turns without any seepage. 
  • I showered with lenses because i forgot to take them out not by plan. 
  • I showered with my lenses for the first 2 years, but I no longer do after reading about the dangers of tap water.
  • I swim with lenses and goggles 
  • I swim with scleral lenses, but always use goggles
  • I tend to shower either first thing in the morning or last on the evening. Lenses inserted after shower in morning and removed before showering in the evening. 
  • I think as long as your not letting the water directly hit your eyes or submerging them showering here and there with them in would be ok. I personally have done it only because i was to lazy to remove and reinsert right after as i had something to do and was in a hurry 
  • I think as long as your not letting the water directly hit your eyes or submerging them showering here and there with them in would be ok. I personally have done it only because i was to lazy to remove and reinsert right after as i had something to do and was in a hurry 
  • I think if I was to swim in any contacts I'd be definitely wearing goggles but I never shower with any lenses in as I am prone for having dry eyes so I use a baby shampoo to wash my eyes in shower for blepharitis et 
  • I try not to get any water in my eyes at all
  • i try not to shower with my lenses on but I have showered while wearing them
  • I try to keep my eyes shut when I shower. I have thought about wearing goggles.
  • I used to frequently shower with my scleral lenses in. I never had any problem. However, it seems prudent now to either shower without my lenses in or to remove them, clean them, and reinsert after finishing the shower. I hardly ever swim. I have snorkeled in the ocean without my lenses, but have worn the lenses when just hanging out on the beach and dipping in the ocean to cool off.
  • I used to shower all the time wearing the devices but stopped when I read online that I should not.
  • I used to shower with my lenses occasionally. I would keep my eyes closed and mostly keep my back to the water. I have not done this for several years since learning you should never expose lenses to tap water
  • I was always told never to do either. I accidentally showered once with them in.
  • I was not told by my doctor to avoid swimming or showering with the lenses. I do know that I should never rinse my lenses with water, though.
  • I was told by my doctor and read in the literature that came with my lenses never to wear them while swimming or when sleeping.
  • I was told not to
  • I was told not to shower with scleral lens, however have done so accidentally.
  • I wear airtight goggles if I shower with my lens in. Also wear goggles in pool while playing with my granddaughter, but never go underwater.
  • I wear goggles to swim. I was told I can shower and swim, but when swimming, wear goggles.
  • I wear goggles when I swim 
  • I wear goggles when swimming, and also when showering if the shower spray goes everywhere. If the shower has a good consistent direction of spray then I just keep my face well out of the water and my eyes shut
  • I wear my lenses 5 days a week for water aerobics and swim occasionally when in the pool.
  • I wear them in the shower at least once a month but less than once a week. I don't usually get water directly in my eyes. I have a shower filter and vitamin c filter on my showerhead since we have abnormally high levels of chlorine in our water.
  • I will (very rarely) shower with my scleral lenses to be able to see well enough to quickly shave my legs. I only do this if I know I can take them out immediately afterwards 
  • I will take a quick shower with lenses in when in a situation where I can't take lenses out..showering at the gym, on vacation without facilities for proper lens care and so forth. When I wash my hair the lenses are out. 
  • I participate in water aerobics almost every day. Its outdoors and I always wear my 7eye goggle like sunglasses and I never go underwater. I always have my lenses in. I get splashed naturally, but eyes/lenses are protected with my glasses
  • I do want to add that I have no life without my lenses and they are in all day, every day and through all my activities. 
  • I wonder about the risk of rain in the eyes with scleral lenses
  • I work out early in the morning and wear my lens. I take a shower with my eyes closed when washing my hair and face. I do take my lens out when I get out of the shower and reinsert then. Once in a while I do remove them before I shower. 
  • I workout 3 mornings a week and shower after my workout and those are the only showers I will still wear my lenses. Those are just for a quick rinse and shampoo and I’m in a crazy rush to get to work. Any other situation I prefer to not wear my lenses while in water. 
  • I'd like to know if anyone does water fitness in a pool while wearing their lenses; has anyone had any experience with splashing water etc., that I should consider before trying it this spring/summer?
  • I'm not aware of any concerns regarding wearing scleral lenses when one showers or swims. 
  • I'm willing but I have very little experience.
  • I've always avoided getting water in my eyes when showering, with or without lenses in place.
  • I've always showered while wearing my scleral contacts. Never had any problems
  • I've tried showering with them in and they seem to blur my vision afterwards. I don't wear them swimming unless I have goggles on. They are too expensive to take the chance of losing one.
  • I've wanted to swim with them, but was afraid of losing such expensive contacts.
  • I’ll only wear them while showering after I’ve been working in the yard or if I’ve gone to the gym and need to shower afterwards.
  • I’m long course triathlete - during training I swim 3+ days/week in pools, lakes and rivers. My OD doesn’t like it, but cornea thinks it’s a better option than swimming in soft lenses. 
  • I’ve always showered with my lenses just closing my eyes when shampooing my hair. Never had a problem in 13 years wearing the lenses. 
  • I’ve been told water carries bacteria and I could my eye site. Not worth it.
  • I’ve had no problems showering with them 
  • I’ve only showered when needing to rinse my body off but not my head and face. Similarly, I have only been swimming to cool off but not gone under water with my head or face.
  • If I did I would close my eyes as much as possible.
  • If I go swimming it is more like dipping myself in or floating on a float. I never go underwater and there is no splashing. 
  • If I shower in them I do not face the shower and I keep my eyes closed and a towel very close by. I also have a water filter in my house.
  • If I shower it’s a body rinse, never soap on the head!
  • If I shower, I shield my eyes from any spray. When I swim it’s with water tight goggle. 
  • If I wear my lenses in the shower, I immediately remove them, rinse them, and reinsert them (or just remove them and disinfect them overnight) directly after. When I "swim" I'm in the pool but don't put my head under water. 
  • In an emergency I might take a short shower, but I have only done that a couple times in the last year.
  • In the rare times I have swum with my Prose lenses in, I've worn goggles. When I take a shower, I try to avoid getting water in my eyes, but it never seems to be a problem.
  • In the shower I try not to get water in my eyes
  • Is it not recommend to shower with scleral lens inserted? 
  • It has changed going to the beach dramatically - that I can go in the water with my lenses in and actually see the ocean floor and where I am walking makes a HUGE difference to my ability to enjoy the ocean again! 
  • It would be nice 
  • Just never acquired the urge
  • May shower but not wash hair so I don’t get water on my face.
  • Most of the time I keep my eyes closed, but not always!
  • my doctor say it is forbidden to swim with sclerals . risk of infection !! 
  • My dr warned me not to.
  • No big deal showering.
  • No face in water while swimming
  • No, my doctor never mentioned either
  • Normally would try to avoid swimming with Scleral lenses and would try to keep face out of water if one or both lenses on. However would try to keep one lens on if swimming in social environment because of very limited vision without either lense.
  • Occasionally in the shower.
  • Only before i knew about the dangers i did. 
  • Only if it is a quick post-gym shower in the middle of the day. It's less of a hassle than taking them out and putting them back in.
  • Only swim in summer . I don’t put my face in water. 
  • Only with occlusive goggles 
  • Remove and clean immediately following swimming per doctors orders. 
  • Shower once or twice a day with them. No issue unless soaping water gets into my eyes.
  • showered with only once by accident. Not sure that I would swim with them.
  • Showering - I usually don't put in my scleral lenses in until after my daily shower, however, there have been many times, I've showered with them in and have never had problems. On the contrary, the humidity of the shower feels especially good when I have my lens in. Swimming - There have been times in my pool, knowing I won't be swimming underwater, that I've had my lens in. I am very careful during those times of keeping my head above water -- having pool chemicals and anything else my lens might be exposed to in a pool seems like a bad idea. Living near the beach, I I would intentionally NOT swim in ocean water with my scleral lens in place. 
  • Showering is not an issue. Swimming I would not attempt.
  • Showering or swimming with my lenses cause my eyes to become irritable, more dry, and uncomfortable.
  • Showering with a letal lenses is something I do daily. The First thing I do every day is put my lenses in. Nearly every day, the last thing I do is remove my lenses for overnight cleaning. I have NEVER had an issue showering with my lenses in. Swimming, however, is a completely separate issue. I NEVER swim with my lenses in, unless I wear goggles at all times. Otherwise, I remove my lenses for swimming, then reinsert after swimming. I have had complications and irritation swimming in pools and the ocean when I first started wearing my lenses, so I avoid it completely, again unless I have trusted goggles. I hope this helps!
  • Showering: I avoid getting water in my eye. I always try to keep my back to the water. 
  • Pool: I do not swim per se, but I do get in the water to relax and do gentle water resistance exercises. I know swim goggles are recommended if I want to actually swim where my face would be in the water, but I haven’t tried it.
  • Six years ago, I snorkeled with a tight fitting mask and white-water rafted wearing snug swimming goggles during a trip to Costa Rica. 
  • Swim in the ocean only during the summer, wear googles.
  • Swim only in summer
  • Swimming is an absolute no go. When I shower I tend to stay away from rinsing my face. Any water in the eye causes irritation around the outside of the lens. 
  • Swimming is usually with goggles but not always due to my job as a lifeguard 
  • Swimming, I wear goggles. Showering, just close my eyes.
  • The chlorine makes my lens feel super “sleek”. I don’t recommend due to coating being worn off lens.
  • The first yr I showers daily with lens, then reading about it on here no to I rarely do it now. 
  • The lenses are so comfy, that I hopped in the shower without removing them first. I didn't realize 'til i was halfway through. My anxiety skyrocketed when I realized. I quickly finished, taking care to keep my head away from the shower. (I had shampooed my hair before I realized!) Took them out as soon as I dried off, put them in ClearCare, flushed eyes with sterile saline. All was well, but I try to think about my lenses before getting into any water. Of course, none of my family or friends understands this. To them, I'm an uptight hypochondriac! 
  • The multiple choice answers don't allow me to put the most accurate answer. I do shower at the gym, after water aerobics, both while wearing my sclerals. I also shower at home with lenses in UNLESS I'm washing my hair. HOWEVER, it's not as bad as that sounds. I do water aerobics, not swimming, and therefore my face isn't submerged in water, nor is water even especially close to my eyes. However, because there can be splashing, I wear swim goggles to keep pool water out of my eyes. Regarding the showering, I never let water pour down over my head, even with eyes closed. My gym and home showers both have hand-held shower sprays which I can adjust the height in order not to spray my face. I then use the hand shower to wash and rinse, not doing my face. If I am washing my hair, I almost never leave sclerals in. If I do, I am very careful. (Think how your hair is washed at the salon.)
  • The time I do shower with lenses in place are times when I go to the gym, or have to clean up after a particularly dirty work day, I keep my eyes closed while doing so.
  • Too scared of amoebas 
  • Used to shower with them. Now even not wearing them I use goggles when shower. 
  • Was told not to as it might loose a lens Not worth it 
  • We have good water here- I wouldn’t be so amenable in California or South Florida. 
  • Wear lenses while snorkeling
  • When I shower, I am very careful to keep the water from hitting my face. 
  • I will ONLY swim with my scleral's if I have a dive mask that I know and have proved to be leak free and that will very reliably keep all water from my eyes. 
  • I have also played in the shallow water with my grandkids mostly watching them to make sure they do not drown. I do not allow water to be splashed near my face if I am wearing the sclerals. 
  • When I swim, I wear them. But I don’t hardly swim. I almost always take them out to shower
  • When I swim, usually wear goggles 
  • When in the shower wearing my lens, I stand with my back to the water flow. 
  • When showering I don't let any water touch my eyes. 
  • When showering I ensure that I do not get water from my well source into my eyes, while wearing scleral lens or otherwise. 
  • When showering I stand with my back to the water. I close my eyes when washing my hair and face. When finished washing my face and hair, I wipe the water off my face with a towel I hang over the shower rod prior to opening my eyes. Once water got in my eyes and they burned so bad I had to immediately remove the scleral lens.
  • When showering or swimming under water, I keep my eyes closed and do my best not to let water get in my eyes. If some water gets in my eyes, I wipe my eyes with a towel or handkerchief.
  • When swimming, if lenses in, I always wear googles
  • When swinging I wear goggles . Showering if I already have them in I do not remove them specifically for purposes of showering . 
  • While showering I never open my eyes if there is a risk of getting water in
  • With goggles I swim a couple times per year. I scuba dived with them as well. 
  • Yes I wear while showering but ensure I keep water out of my eyes. I keep a dry towel handy to wipe my face if I get water over it when eyes are closed. 
  • You need to be very careful not to get any water in your eyes because it really hurts  

b. For those who USED to rinse with water, then stopped, when and why did you stop? 

  • Last year after reading about it in the FB page.
  • When i read about the risk of Keratitis, in the group. Even my doctor said to rinse with water
  • 3 months ago. Hard water factors caused lenses to be cleaned more office and found that rinsing with nacl, I am able to wear lenses longer with less discomfort.
  • I quit a year ago after reading information on the dry eyes website and seeing a video of an acanthamoeba infection
  • Because I read that it can cause keratitis which can lead to eyesight los
  • A few years back. Recommendation from on line group
  • New doctor gave different care instructions
  • After reading this info multiple times at Big Fat Scleral, and taking the message seriously.
  • I always rinsed my first lenses with water before inserting them in my eye. I stopped rinsing with water when I started wearing the coated lenses approximately 3 years ago. I do not need to rinse the coated lenses.
  • Since this has been posted on this group
  • Found out on this FBG it was bad.
  • Use to rinse b4 night cleaning. Did BC one doc said ok. Stopped due to best practices recommended.
  • Dr told me
  • I read online that it wasn't a good idea. I already get a fair amount of infections, so now I'm working harder to prevent them.
  • I used to always use distilled water to rinse my devices as I am really sensitive to many of the salines and it was the only option for me 10 years ago. I switched though when I read an article about the dangers of using water, even distilled water to rinse.
  • Read article from Dry Eyes posting
  • My eye doctor gave me instructions to rinse them with water. I did that until I read about the dangers in the facebook group.
  • Two years ago. There was hydra-peg coating added to my scleral contact lenses. Before that, i had to wash away the miraflow cleaning solution.
  • when you all told me to do so and I read the rationale behind it
  • My initial fitter had me rinsing lenses with tap water. Once information about the dangers of tap water started showing up in the "My Big Fat Scleral Lens" Facebook group, I did ask my new fitter about it (he replaced the first one when she moved out of state) and he said it was the "gold standard" not to use tap water and he was trying to convert the university, but it just wasn't in the budget. I am wearing sclerals because of post lasik ectasia. When I had lasik, I was presented with a risk of .01% for adverse consequences. Because the number given was so low, I figured it was worth the risk. Now I've learned that that number is not correct and I am one of the unlucky ones with negative life changing consequences. I suspect the risk is low for having issues with using tap water to rinse my lenses, but at this point it's just not worth any risk. It is more expensive and requires more work on my part to completely rinse my lenses with saline, but I would much rather spend a little extra time and money to avoid another risk of further damaging my eyes.
  • Water has bad bacteria in it
  • Because of all the postings regarding the safety hazards here at My Big Fat Scleral Lens I stopped doing it about a year ago. My Dr still rinses them in front of me in her clinic even though I have talked to her twice about the small but real danger of this practice.
  • When I switched to a polished lens the doctor said I should not rinse with water. I had been rinsing with water with my previous lens.
  • A couple of months ago, after reading about the dangers
  • about 6 months ago. I stopped because of all the negative things I read online.
  • did occasionally in the beginning but was told not to ever use water.
  • having read about the potential problems from tap water and getting my infected.
  • My big fat scleral lens website stating that it isn't completely safe, even if lenses are immediately disinfected.
  • When I read that some people had gotten infections from rinsing with tap water
  • doc said it was okay, but scleral lense support groups were very against it. Saline isn't that expensive that it's worth the risk.
  • I began wearing LaserFit lenses, and Dr. Gemoules' rule is not to. His lenses, his rules.
  • I read it on Dry Eyes Matter that you should not ever expose them to tap water. I was originally taught in Boston that you rinse them with water as long as that water was drinkable. Since I had them for such a long time no one ever told me not to. At yearly checkups doctors should do a quick review of everything so long term patients don’t get left out of the loop of changes.
  • Again, optometrist strongly warned against it citing terrible repercussions that could lead to blindness.
  • I stopped rinsing once a discussion on the Facebook group started that talked about the possibility of getting a severe eye infection due to a bacteria found in water. If I do rinse my lenses (on very rare occasions) it will be before I place them into the Clear Care solution.
  • I never had a problem with rinsing my lenses with water, but as I learned more, including from an intern w/my eye doc, it seemed wise to discontinue rinsing with water.
  • I read that rinsing with water was harmful. Stopped many years ago.
  • I believe I heard not to use water in a facebook group
  • After about 5 years seeing the same Optometrist, I saw a flyer in his office regarding the best products to use to never rinse with water. I haven't rinsed in water after that
  • I was instructed to rinse with tap water by my original OD and lens techs. After doing research, I stopped.
  • Changed how I clean lens
  • Last week , when I read on your web site not to!
  • I read that doing so is unsafe, and it could remove the hydra peg coating. However, before that, I used to rinse my lenses with water For over 15 years without any issues such as infection, etc.
  • I have sensitive eyes and eliminated this to try and ease irritation. It didn’t work but it seems good practice to rinse with saline anyway to limit the chances of infection.
  • This past couple years
  • Last year, after seeing posts on the Facebook page, I discussed it with Dr. Shorter at UIC. I'm one of the early patients of Dr. Rosenthal. I was taught to use the cleaner (Mirroflow at the time, now ESC) and then rinse with POTABLE water prior to disinfection. However, once that was done, they MUST disinfect for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, but mine always were in hydrogen peroxide for 7 to 8 hours.
  • Switched cleaning products
  • Risk of infection
  • Read a couple of articles that said it was bad. Got a new make of contact that was easier to clean. Only had to rinse with and store in one solution.
  • Quit after joining KC and scleral lens groups where rinsing lenses with water was discussed and the science behind why not to do it was presented.
  • Previously I rinsed the once a week cleaner off with water. Now I use the daily scleral fill solution
  • Since learning about AK.
  • I've had 3 eye doctors in the past year, and 1 of them actually said to rinse with water if needed!
  • Late 2019. Eye doctor said not to rinse with water after removing from overnight Clear Care.
  • About a year ago I read in a blog about the dangers, did some research that backed those up, and now don't do it. Dr told me it was fine when I first started wearing and haven't heard anything different from any of them. I think I'm on my 4th lens first since I started.
  • This shop’s Facebook group made me aware of the issue and my ophthalmologist confirmed it
  • Worried about infection
  • Was informed by eye doctor to only use sterile water or isotonic sterile water to rinse lenses because of amobea that may be in tap water

Comments from participants who wanted to share more

  • I have stored and rinsed my prior RGP hard lenses in water for decades with no issues and NEVER did anything to disinfect them other than use LOBOB and water.  As a precaution with my Sclerals I use hydrogen peroxide to sterilise my scleral lens on an intermittent basis - about once a week and that seems to be working fine - though not sure that is even necessary but my eye doctor said to sterilise regularly.  I now just do it once a week as cost is so high otherwise.  In USA peroxide can be bought in 1 liter containers for about $1.25 but in Australia a tiny l glass bottle of it costs lots more (not sure why and why you cannot get larger sizes?) and the AOSEPT solution which I used at the onset is full of other chemicals.   I use LOBOB cleaner which is awesome, and use PRESERVATIVE-FREE SALINE small single use, non-buffered ampoules to fill my scleral lenses before insertion and for storage on non-disinfection days.   Over many years, I have also had great success using Colloidal Silver solution in an eye wash cup anytime my eyes feel ""goopy"" (approx once a year) and I have never had any infections develop as that seems to resolve any issues in just a couple of days using that 1-2 times a day.   "
  •  I have worn contacts for over 40 yrs starting with hard lenses, then over the years moving from rgp’s to piggybacks to hybrid and currently scleral lenses.  Up until the hybrids I always rinsed with water and was never advised otherwise.   I currently use the Clear Care system which doesn’t require rinsing although if I need to remove and reinsert I do use saline.
  • MY scleral lens provider actually told me to rinse my lens with running water and included this in the printed instruction sheet. 
  • After my monthly protein clean, I rinse the lens off with water, before washing & then the lens in contact solution as normal. I also rinse the protein cleaning case in water, before shaking off & allowing to air dry.
  • All of this stuff never really occurred to me
  • Although my provider may have reviewed this when I got the lens . I also think their many water sources which could easily cause infections ... so the practice of using the saline is best.  For example information for care has changed .  For example .... at first my disinfecting  process was a more commercial based product ... Then it changed to peroxide ...without the catalyst ..... then I believe with the increase of people not waiting for the ph level to change there was an increase of burns or eye irritation the Container and the catalyst were put into the protocol ...   to make the process uniform . 
  • Bacteria
  • Because my tap water comes from a drilled well, not a public water supply, it hasn't been treated with chlorine or anything else.  If rinsing with plain water *before* overnight soaking (in Simplus) is a bad idea, I was unaware of it.
  • Because of what I initially heard on FB I researched it on my own and asked my provider at my next appointment. 
  • Boston Sight's instructions were to never put the PROSE in water or to swim with the lenses for any reason. They said showering was okay with back facing the water and eyes closed. 
  • Cleaner is not removed unless I use water & then rinse with saline. No problems for many years and b/c of eye disease I clean my lens several times a day.
  • Contracted Acanthamoeba infection from rinsing in contaminated water on a boat in Sardinia/Corsica. Will need cornea transplant. 
  • Different doctors have given conflicting advice.  Although I try to rinse with saline, I question if rinsing with water (convenient and sometimes more effective) is really detrimental if one is disinfecting afterward,  
  • Does tap water erode hydrapeg coating? I am unclear on that issue. 
  • Dr always says to use only saline
  • Everything assumes the worst about the water, but you have to be aware of where you are. I would not use the water and some of the states I visit, but I am not afraid to use the water here where I live. Also, I have been using bio true as my photo ever since firetruck came out. I find that Celine to be drying and irritating to my eyes. I also do not use the h2o2 based cleaners on my lenses. They were bad for RPGs years ago and it is my believe since we are still using the same RPG materials that they continue to be bad for the lens. I treat them just like my old RPGs- with Boston Daily cleaner, stored in Simplus and filled with BioTrue. Sometimes I store them in BioTrue AND Simplus. I’m glad my doctor doesn’t lean toward worst case scenario although he did explain it to me and we both decided my regimen was fine. 
  • for 23 yrs i've been rinsing with water then rinsing with BSS solution or saline solution. Never had issue.
  • grateful for the advise from the scleral lens fb group and dryeye shop
  • Have nothing that could help. I will never use water
  • I am a cyclist and wanted to do triathlons (run, swim & bike).  My eye doctor advised that no goggles were perfect and that due to risk of infection (I have 2 transplanted corneas), I should not do the swim portion of triathlons.
  • I am a microbiologist experienced in water testing
  • I am still confused about water and sclerals, although I do not do it anymore.
  • I can only recall being told to always rinse with solution. I've never given any thought to doing it any other way. I wear my lenses every day and they stay in until bed. Whatever activities I enter in, they are with me. I don't recall any warning of water usage or swimming and such.
  • I didn't even know people thought to use water to clean their contacts. I personally think that's not the smartest thing to do, since they make saline specifically for those purposes? 
  • I don't remember ever reading or hearing about concerns about water safety and sclerals.
  • I don’t swim.  I take them out when Snorkeling.  
  • I find it doesn't really matter in my case.  I do have a whole house water purification system, maybe that helps.  Never had a eye infection in all the years of wearing various types of lenses.
  • I found a doctor that was committed to helping me regain my vision. Why wouldn’t I respect his directives. 
  • I found a few articles on bbc news website where lens wearers had gone blind from using tap water. My London practitioner from a few years ago said not to let my eyes or lenses go near water or I was a ‘disaster waiting to happen’
  • I had seen a TV show about acanthamoeba infection from swimming with contacts in a lake and learned about it from that originally. 
  • I hadn’t been told specifically by my doctor for my scleral lenses, but when I wore soft contacts before I was told to not rinse them in water. I figured it’s the same with the scleral lenses. I use saline solution to rinse them. I have also seen news articles and attention drawn to not rinsing contacts with water on social media. 
  • I have had no problems with using tap water for over 50 years of wearing contacts, the last 6 with scleral lenses. 
  • I have no reason for my provider to mention anything about tap water, as I was told what to do and there was no reason for further discussion. If she did say anything about it, it wasn't memorable.
  • I learned about the dangers of using water from news stories and personal accounts concerning chronic eye infects. 
  • I love to swim but I am careful of swimming, close my eyes or wear goggles. I am more worried about the impact of jumping of a high dive, rock and lens coming off?  Is that a possibility?
  • I never use tap water to rinse away from home... not knowing water quality or particulates. Never rub lenses with water either, just quick rinse to save on the TONS of saline I need monthly!
  • I only use products recommended by my eye care providers and lens manufacturer
  • I plan to address this issue with my providers next time I go.
  • I store my plungers in rubbing alcohol.  This has cut down on infections and irritation.  I also use white wash clothes to remove and insert my lenses daily (2 clothes a day).  They are kept clean and I bleach them and wash them separately from dirty laundry.   Having a clean surface to insert my lenses has cut down on irritation. 
  • I store the lens in optimum cds then I rinse the lens with water. After that I rinse with unique ph then lacripure. 
  • "I told my lens provider about the safety risks pf tap water and acanthamoboe and that they told me its fine to rinse with water as long as i rinse after that again with saline. They confirmed me again that this is fine, since acanthamobae cannot enter scleral lens material.  Thus rinsing off water with saline is good enough. Further they told me in country theres very minor risk (switzerland)."
  • I understand from Rebecca’s website and all her wonderful scientific resources that water is not longer recommended. I still use water because a) better for environment and b) the odds against one of those weird infections hitting me are very low. 
  • I used to live in a country where you can't drink tap water, so even though I now live in the US and trust the tap water to drink, I still don't want it in my eye. I use saline to rinse my lenses and then use the usual cleaners. 
  • I was told by both doctors to use saline solution for sensitive eyes or Purilens only 
  • I was told by my cornea specialist not to ever use water with scleral lenses.  He also said not to swim or shower with them.  
  • I was told it would ruin the HydraPEG coating and I rely on that heavily for comfort. Honestly, if I didn’t have the HydraPEG coating I wouldn’t worry about showering with them in.
  • I wish I remembered more about my thought and education process of changing from rinsing with water to rinsing with saline only. Probably the biggest wake up call was the intern for my provider who was shocked I was rinsing with water. That got me thinking and educating myself better. I've been with my contact lens provider for well over 10 years, and he is excellent. We have had a lot of conversations, and I just can't remember everything we have discussed.
  • I would like more definitive information.
  • I would like to hear more about this as I thought water on our lenses was forbidden!
  • I would like to know if I need to rinse with water after they were disinfected all night. 
  • I would like to know what the issue is with water...please help...I'm afraid now. 
  • I've been wearing contacts of various sorts since 1975. I have never rinsed any type of lens in water nor have I ever worn them swimming (although nearly blind without them). This is based on my original instructions in 1975, and my understanding of the biology and chemistry behind the risks 
  • I’m an R&D scientist  in microbial control and understand risks and means of mitigating the potential pitfalls in maintaining clean and microbes free contact lenses. Have used and studied Acanthamoeba, worked on contact lens disinfection with antimicrobials and have developed a level of comfort with what I do, which is essentially using clean (not just tap) water.
  • If I thought the water issue was overblown, I'd shower with them and rinse them with water.
  • If there are risks associated with swimming or showering with lenses, please share.
  • info from dry eye shop website has been helpful
  • It's rare but people do get ill and die from parasites that live in water, so why would I risk that?
  • It’s a hassle putting my lens in as it is. Water is there, it’s free, and I’ve been doing it for years with no issues. I do give my lenses a quick squirt of solution after rinsing with water though!
  • It’s not right that some doctors tell you to rinse your contacts with water while others tell you it’s the worst thing you can do. There needs to be a standard procedure that every doctor follows. 
  • just don't use tap water, regardless the source; i.e. well or 1%ER run water Utility for any kind of scleral lens activity - washing, storing, etc.   I am not aware of issues with showering with the lenses installed.  I try not to get shower water in my eyes!   Swimming with eyes open while wearing a scleral lens makes no sense to me.
  • Lens cleaner label 
  • Let us know why and if we shouldn’t use tap water.
  • My approach has changed over the years.  First, no concerns about tap water.  Then, due to perceived concerns, I compromised by first rinsing with tap water followed by a saline rinse prior to lens insertion.  (At the time, I cleaned my lenses both upon removal and insertion.)  Now, after discussion with my lens provider, I clean them after removal, rinse with tap water and then place the lenses in conditioner/disinfectant.  Upon insertion, at his suggestion, I do not rinse the disinfectant off the lenses, simple drain and add saline.  This has worked well and virtually eliminated some nagging fogging issues. 
  • My corneal condition places me at risk for infection and it makes perfect sense that tap water usage increases the risk. 
  • My doctor has said nothing about this issue- it only came up when I asked after reading info on this site. When I got my scleral lenses I was told to rinse the cleaning solution with water.  When I asked recently I was told to rinse with water after cleaning, then soak in solution to disinfect. 
  • My doctor said water doesn't hurt hard lenses. There's so many mixed ways people clean and rinse. I get lost. Noone only uses Boston clearers.
  • My Dr. and his staff frequently use water in the fitting process to rinse lenses. Honestly, it kind of freaks me out that they are so unaware of the dangers. I'm fanatical about water, bacteria, etc. I have an auto immune so I'm extremely cautious about such things. 
  • My eye doctor  rinsed my first contacts with water when I was having trouble with them staying clear after 2 or 3 hours of wear. He then rinsed with saline, filled them with saline  and put them back in my eyes. At that time, I had to clean my lenses about every 4 hours. With the coated lenses I now wear, I usually wear them 13 or 14 hours without taking them out. I just soak them in Bio-Tru each evening and rinse them with fresh Bio-Tru before filling them with saline and inserting them in the morning 
  • My eye issues started with shingles in eye progressed to severe bacterial infection which I could not get rid of( I have limited immune system due to heart transplant) then cornea cracked. Lost most vision ( was 20/20) Ended up with corneal transplant and sceral  lens. The pain during this was horrendous, don’t ever want to go thru it again. Almost lost the eye itself. Prior to this never had an eye infection, or any issues, only nearsighted then had cataract surgery, made vision 20/20 with no contacts. Also had damage to pupil with the infection , it’s permanently dilated and have some issues with depth perception since the infection. 
  • My first provider (especially the staff) was ill-equipped in fitting my first pair of scleral lenses. If not for my own determination to source out another provider and gather information on my own - I would not be wearing them today. 
  • My optometrist strongly advised against using water due to the risk of an infection from pathogens in the water. 
  • My optometrist wears sclerals and rinses his with water. 
  • My PROSE provider only spoke about water contamination when I asked.  
  • My provide has NOT provided me info about water safety (answer didn't work).  She did tell me not to use water as I have coating on lenses and water would ruin it
  • My research has shown me that although rare, the implications of using water to rinse FAR outweigh the positives.
  • Never use water. Always use saline. 
  • People need to know the dangers...
  • Optometrists have a lot of learning to do! The question is, do they care enough to spend time learning?
  • Our tap water is contaminated and we drink bottled water
  • Providers never told me about the danger of tap water! That's scary.
  • Regardless if you feel there is risk or not, why chance it?  Our understanding always gets better, and we are all here for a reason; we apparently have enough problems with our vision so why introduce one more risk factor?  Equate brand saline is relatively cheap insurance to use for rinsing.  
  • Since we commonly use preservative free products that are balanced for the eye with our contacts it seems counterproductive to use something with unknown content of chemicals and questionable content. I rarely drink the tap water where I live and have filters in my shower, I don't think I will put the water in my eyes if I can help it--I err on the side of caution since I need these eyes for a bit longer. No rinsing with random water.
  • Tap water may not be chemically orr   
  • Thanks for hammering home the importance of not using water to rinse our sclerals. There are too many drs all over the world who are 'old school' and not current on best practices for optimum safety.
  • Thanks for including extra space to further comment! My scleral lens provider gave me no info whatsoever, in writing, about anything. Every resident I see tells me something different, I follow that advice, and then the next time I'm there, the doctor might mention how that was the wrong advice and I should stop doing it. I've BEGGED for a list of guidelines and instructions, but they do not have it and do not provide it. Nothing. Not even three step instructions on how to clean. It's all been verbal. No one has EVER mentioned not using water.
  • The Dry Eye Shop & blog are where I get almost all of my information. They are knowledgeable & up to date.
  • The first time I saw it I blew it off. Then I started considering the mechanism of my sclerals is different than my old gas perms. What made the difference was answering comments and explaining the risks to others on MBFSL. I took the pledge a year ago and have been successful but I admit I like LOBOB and it stings if you cant rinse well. Now I need to get in the habit of cleaning them at night before soaking in ClearCare. [I love this! So similar to my own journey!]
  • The times I use water to rinse cleaning fluid off lenses it is usually because I previously had done this and I find it hard to break this habit. The provider has repeatedly asked me not to do this.
  • There should probably be a distinction made between whether written instructions from current provider are given to new scleral lens wearers, versus not giving them to someone like me, who had almost five years of successfully wearing them by the time I got my latest pair.
  • This is the first instance where I have been made aware that there is a problem with rinsing my sclerals with tap water!!!
  • Told to rinse with saline solution 
  • Um, if I rinse it with water then clean with cleaner and rinse with PurLens then ... I should be ok, right? [Wrong]
  • Used to shower swim and rinse with water.  Dr G in Dallas said do not use water as it is not good for the lenses.  I have stopped doing so now. 
  • Vision got blurred after wearing 5 hrs
  • Wash my case that I clean them in every night with water.  Everything else kept sterile.
  • Water also irritates my eyes, and when I used it to rinse, my lenses were more uncomfortable. 
  • We have all heard over the years, that tap water - regardless of the source - well, public utility, etc. does indeed contain bacteria and other minerals that should not make it to the eyes.   The eyes are one of the most important senses we have!
  • when asked about rinsing them in water my ophthalmologist he jokingly said that he would avoid using pond water.  He said that tap water is fine for rinsing the lens cleaner off just before sterilizing them.  Also that he would not go swimming with the lenses on.  
  • When I received my original training on how to use and care for my PROSE scleral lens at Bascom Palmer, University of Miami School of Medicine, I was expressly taught to only use Optimum lobob or its equivalent to clean my lens, and then use only Clear Care to condition my lens overnight. Removing them the next morning from the cage before placing them on my eyes, I was trained to squirt only Puri Lens (on and in the lens, along with -- in my case -- celluvisc) , then placing them in my eyes.
  • Why in the world would someone use tap water when they could just use saline? [IKR?] I use saline and in fact, I use it as an eyedrop when my eyes get dry overnight, because I know exactly what’s in it. 
  • Years ago, I wore soft contacts and put a lens in a glass of water which ruined it so I never rinse my Sclerals with water , I do rinse them with saline for soft contacts w preservatives 


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