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There are a few leading contact lens brands on the market, but there’s no one-size-fits-all contact lens solution for every person.
When choosing the right solution for you, consider advice from an eye care professional, what kind of contacts you use, and your personal experience with certain ingredients. We compiled this list to help get you started on selecting the best contact solution for your individual needs.
The ingredients in your contact lens solution determine what the solution is actually able to do. Some of these ingredients can trigger allergies or other side effects, so it’s always good to take a closer look at the label before purchasing. Some common ingredients in contact lens solutions include:
- polyquaternium, a preservative that breaks up pathogens and proteins
- boric acid, which has antibiotic properties and is added to clean and soothe irritated eyes
- propylene glycol, which forms a layer over the mucous membrane to relieve eye inflammation
- hydrogen peroxide, a disinfectant
- polyaminopropyl biguanide, a preservative that disinfects and cleans the surface of contact lenses
- saline, a mixture of sodium chloride and water that stabilizes the other ingredients and keeps contacts hygienic
- Clinical trials. We read clinical trials that compared the efficacy and ingredients of different types of contact lens solution.
- Pricing. Contact lens solution doesn’t vary in price by a lot, but we still worked to make sure that this list included some lower- and higher-priced options.
- Convenience. The contact lens solution that you choose won’t do much good if you can’t get it easily or quickly. We tried to highlight options that you can get from your local pharmacy or grocery store.
Contact lens solution typically costs between $6 and $20 for a 12-ounce bottle. The products mentioned in this article vary in size and are priced as follows:
- $ = under $11
- $$ = $11–$15
- $$$ = over $15
Best multipurpose contact lens solution
This brand, which comes highly recommended by optical care specialists, is affordable, loved by thousands of reviewers, and available almost anywhere contact lens solution is sold. A free contact lens case is often included with purchase.
This solution is meant for cleaning and storing silicon contact lenses, including weeklies and monthly disposables.
You’ll need to soak your contacts for 6 hours, minimum, for them to be completely lubricated and ready to wear. Keep in mind that while multipurpose lens solution does work well for many people, some contact lens wearers experience incompatibility, such as eye redness and irritation, with certain formulas.
Best hydrogen peroxide contact lens solution
This solution is preservative-free, which means that it might be a good option if you’ve had allergies to other disinfectant ingredients in contact lens solutions. If you’ve had a bad experience with multipurpose solutions, this option by Clear Care Plus may give you the disinfecting power you need without the inflammation and discomfort.
It’s important to exercise caution when using this kind of solution and to follow the instructions included carefully. Hydrogen peroxide solutions come with a neutralizing disk, which converts the hydrogen peroxide to saline so that it doesn’t burn or injure your eyes.
Never put hydrogen peroxide directly into your eye.
Best preservative-free contact lens solution
This solution doesn’t have any disinfecting- or protein-dissolving properties — it’s basically stabilized saline. For people who are wary of preservatives and other chemical ingredients in their contact lens solution, this may be a good option.
Note that it’s a bit pricier than most multipurpose solutions.
This PuriLens contact solution can be used with both rigid gas permeable (RGP) and soft contact lenses. It typically comes in multipacks of 4-ounce bottles. Here, we’re featuring PuriLens 2-ounce bottles, which are small enough to throw into your carry-on while traveling.
Best care system for RGP contacts
For people who wear RGP lenses, this contact lens solution system may tick all the boxes. It removes proteins and enzymes from the surface of your lenses, disinfects by killing bacteria, and wets your contacts for the next wear.
This product is actually a four-in-one: It has a special case for storing your contacts; a protein and enzyme solution; a cleaning solution; and a conditioning solution meant to extend the life of your contacts.
Because it acts as a few products in one, you’re going to pay a little more. But if you wear RGP lenses, it may make sense to pay to protect your investment as long as possible.
If you use any type of disposable, hard, or hybrid contact lenses, chances are that contact lens solution has been a mainstay of your bathroom counter for some time now.
Contact lens solution is what enables your contacts to last past a single use. By cleaning off proteins and pathogens that collect on the surface of your lenses, the solution cleans or disinfects them for the next wear.
Even if you wear daily disposable contacts, you likely use contact lens solution to rehydrate your lenses when they’re dry or to remove any dust or dirt.
When you’re shopping for contact lens solution, talk with an eye care professional. They can advise you on which solution will work best with your contact lenses. If you’re concerned about the price or certain ingredients, be sure to mention that too.
You’ll also want to consider how often you’re buying solution and where you’re buying from. You can save some money if you buy in bulk, or you can opt for a subscription that delivers the solution to your door on a monthly or bimonthly basis.
Finally, read the ingredients label of any solution that you’re thinking about purchasing. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the past, consider a different solution.
There isn’t a wide variety of contact lens solutions on the market. Most of them fall into the same basic categories, have common ingredients, and are priced similarly. When you’re looking for a contact lens solution, speak with an eye care professional about what product will work best with your type of contacts.
If you have an allergic reaction to any ingredients, a hesitation about preservatives, or any other reason you might want to switch contact lens solution, you can always run it by an eye care professional.
Kathryn Watson is a freelance writer covering everything from sleep hygiene to moral philosophy. Her recent bylines include Healthline, Christianity Today, LitHub, and Curbed. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children, and her website is kathrynswatson.com.