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What causes deposits to build up on contact lenses?

Everyone has heard that contact lenses need to be looked after. The doctor in the optics salon and numerous articles on the Internet tell you about this. What exactly is care and what exactly do you need to clean the lenses from? We are talking about deposits that appear on the lenses. Let's figure out what it is, what their accumulation depends on and how to get rid of them – because they irritate the eye, lead to its diseases and reduce visual acuity.

Why deposits accumulate on contact lenses and what it depends on

The material of modern lenses is itself safe and biocompatible, does not emit anything and does not form any deposits. On the contrary, they are formed from the natural environment of the eye. The material and tear fluid interact with each other, and as a result, tear products – proteins and fats – are deposited on the surface. Usually they are removed with a tear, but, in contact with the surface of the eye, the lens "intercepts" them – this is the reason for the accumulation of deposits.

Even contact lenses are in contact with the environment, which also affects them. Dirt, dust, pollen, cosmetics, especially eye make-up, cleansers, lotions... any substances that can get into the mucous membranes even in small amounts, are involved in the creation of deposits.

They have a very different appearance, being located both as separate spots and plaques, and tightening the entire surface with a film. The number and speed of their appearance are different for everyone, but there is a period during which it is guaranteed to be safe to wear the lens, because the deposits do not have time to harm the eye. This is the period of its continuous wearing, which is indicated by the manufacturer. The accumulation of deposits depends on the material – and there is a wide variety of them.

Types of deposits on contact lenses and how to get rid of them

Most often, a whole complex of deposits is observed on the lenses. However, they can be classified, especially since there are multifunctional universal solutions for their removal. However, it is important to understand that there are remedies that fight only with their individual types, and they may not always help in your particular case. Let's find out how you can determine the type of deposit by its appearance, what determines its accumulation and how to deal with it.

Surface film

In the form of a film, proteins, fats and bacteria can be deposited.

Protein (protein) deposits

Proteins are most actively absorbed from the tear, while depriving the lens of moisture. This leads to a decrease in the moisture content of the lens. If their number has reached a critical mass, there is discomfort when wearing due to the drying of the cornea and possible allergic reactions. The mucous membrane of the eye can give an immune response, and bacterial inflammation can occur in the deposits.

Fat (lipid) deposits

Lipids are deposited on contact lenses from several sources:

  • Own hands, especially if you use cream;
  • Environment – polluted air;
  • Tear secret – when it is excessively dry, it produces more fat. This happens in dry hot or windy frosty weather, with prolonged work at the computer, with the "dry eye" syndrome.

Bacterial deposits

Bacteria and fungi are less common on the lens surface than fats and proteins. Under conditions of regular cleansing and care, they can occur due to a change in the composition of the tear, which initially has an antimicrobial effect, but for some reason has lost it. However, if contact lenses are not taken care of, then harmful microorganisms colonize the existing layer, getting from the outside, and multiply in it. In addition, if the lenses are worn out and have already lost their properties or have even minor damage, then there are even more sources of bacteria penetration on its surface. Therefore, they must be worn in accordance with the regimen specified by the manufacturer, stored and cleaned between breaks in a special, preferably multifunctional solution, and regularly inspected for damage.


Stains are the main sign of insufficient care, that the lenses are worn out and not cleaned in a timely manner. Although there may be other reasons that lie in the composition of the tear: an altered composition of the tear film, pH levels, dry eye syndrome; in this case, it is necessary to treat the eye condition.

The spots are made up of three layers:

  • A base of fatty acids and calcium;
  • Second layer of cholesterol and mucins;
  • Third protein layer.

The danger of these deposits is that they can grow into the contact lens matrix. If this happens, then it is no longer possible to clean the lenses, and it is also no longer possible to wear them due to the risk of injury and infection of the eye, but also because nothing can be seen in them


These are insoluble crystals of calcium ions. They are quite sharp, interfere with vision, rub and irritate mucous membrane of the eye. Wearing lenses with such deposits is very uncomfortable, they cause a feeling of sand in the eyes.

How to clean contact lenses

If you clean the lenses in time and follow the wearing regime, the inevitable accumulation of deposits will not cause unpleasant consequences for eye health. And although the number and speed of their appearance depends on various factors: the characteristics of the human body, the material of the lenses and compliance with the rules for cleaning them, the manufacturer's instructions will help get rid of them. Manufacturers indicate the wearing mode and replacement period based on the properties of the material, including its resistance to deposits.

How to get rid of deposits in the form of a film, stains, plaques

To remove excess from the surface of the lens, it is better to choose not a specific tool, but a universal one, this will be more reliable. Lenses are worn in accordance with their mode, and when removed, they are placed in containers where you need to pour a special liquid – multipurpose solution or an enzyme cleaner. During the time spent in the liquid, the deposits will dissolve and the lenses will be cleaned and also re-moistened. Detailed instructions will be on the bottle, but as a rule, this will be enough, you don’t even need to wipe them – the solution will clean them chemically, without mechanical action. They just put it in the evening and took it out in the morning.

If contact lenses are worn longer than the prescribed period, their ability to protect the eyes from the harmful effects of deposits and bacteria will decrease. Also, every time before putting them on, check if they are intact, if there are any scratches and debris on them. And if you feel dry while wearing lenses, use moisturizing drops to help maintain the correct moisture balance and protect your eyes from drying out and inflammation.

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