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Sterile Saline solution is a pretty indispensible item if you wear contact lenses, it has loads of different uses, and it's something that I definitely wouldn't be without.
You can use saline on all types of contacts lenses; the gas permeable lenses, and all of the different types of soft contact lenses including the daily disposable contact lenses. I wear a combination of both the monthly disposable contact lenses and the daily disposable contact lenses; I wear the monthly lenses on a day to day basis, and I wear the daily lenses on holiday or for weekends away or nights out for the convenience factor. I use saline on both my monthly disposables and my daily disposables.
I normally buy the Boots own brand sterile saline, which comes in a 360ml bottle, and costs £3.63.
On a recent trip to Boots however I spotted this Bausch & Lomb sensitive eyes plus saline; it's in a 500ml bottle, and it costs £4.99 per bottle. At the moment though it's on a 'buy one get one half price offer' so basically I picked up 2 bottles making 1 litre of saline for £7.50. This works out much cheaper than the Boots own brand saline, and it's from a reputable contact lens manufacturer. There's actually nothing wrong at all with the Boots own brand saline, and I've been happily using it for years. I decided to give the Bausch & Lomb sensitive eyes saline a go though as it did work out much cheaper whilst on offer (and to be honest it works out to be the same price at full price anyway), and as it is marketed at sensitive eyes I wanted to give it a go as I do feel that my eyes are quite sensitive.
I find that a 360ml bottle of the Boots saline will last me on average about two months, so I'm guessing that I'll get around 3 months or so out of the 500ml bottle of Bausch & Lomb saline. I've been using it for about a month now, and it seems to be about two thirds full still, so this seems to be a good estimate. It is difficult to tell exactly how much you have left as the saline comes in an opaque bottle so you can't see the contents. The saline comes in a plastic squeezy bottle, you just remove the lid and squeeze the bottle to dispense the saline; a gentle squeeze will dispense a small amount of saline and a hard squeeze will dispense a steady jet of saline.
The Baush & Lomb sensitive eyes plus saline solution states that it has a gentle PH balanced formula which contains potassium, an ingredient found in natural tears.
I use this saline in the following ways:
I use the saline to rinse my lenses each morning before I put them in. You don't actually need to do this, you can normally just insert your lenses from the overnight cleaning solution. But I find that occasionally this can make my eyes sting in the morning, I don't have much time in the mornings anyway and the last thing I need is stinging, red, sore eyes to deal with! I find that giving each lens a quick rinse with saline before I put it in means that it's instantly comfortable.
I also use the saline to fill my lens case to store my lenses if I'm just taking them out for a couple of hours, and then will want to pop them back in. Most cleaning solutions will need you to store the lenses for a minimum number of hours before you can put them back in, sometimes I don't have that amount of time I just want to give my eyes a rest from my lenses for an hour or two and then be able to put them back in to maybe go out for dinner or something.
On long days I will actually take my contact lens case out with me in my handbag, just in case anything unforseen happens and I do need to remove my contact lenses. I will fill my lens case with saline beforehand so that I've got something to put my lenses into - especially if it's my monthly disposable lenses and I'm only on day one. This doesn't matter so much if it's a pair of my daily disposable lenses that I'm wearing though.
I always rinse my contact lens case after each use with saline, and I then leave it to air dry. I'm not a fan of using tap water to rinse my case as there's all sorts of nasty bacteria in tap water and I don't want that anywhere near anything that I'm going to put in my eyes.
If I happen to drop a contact lens whilst handling it then I would give it a quick rinse with a squirt of saline. Also if my lenses were getting a little bit dry from handling (sometimes when I'm getting ready and half asleep in the mornings it can take a few goes to get each lens in!) then again I would give it a quick rinse with a squirt of saline to rehydrate the lens.
The Bausch & Lomb sensitive eyes saline is really gentle, and it doesn't sting or irritate my eyes in any way at all. I'm not sure if I actually think that it feels any different from the Boots own brand saline though as this is quite gentle too. I can't say that I've noticed a difference to be honest, or that my eyes feel any less sensitive. I'm happy enough with this though, and I think that I'm going to stock up on a couple more bottles before the offer runs out as it does work out to be cheaper.
I have worn contact lenses since I was 16. For me, it's a self-confidence issue; I personally think and I have been told, that I look a lot better without glasses then I do with, so I see contact lenses as an essential for me.
An important addition to any contact lens wearer's bathroom cabinet is a good contact lens solution. I used to use a major opticians own brand solution, however this caused problems for my eyes. Every time I used to put my lenses in, my eyes would sting and be bloodshot for hours after - that countered the whole point of wearing lenses because I look better in them! I did speak to my optician about it who insisted that it was normal. After a rather lengthy disagreement over how having sore, bloodshot eyes was most definitely not normal he recommended that I try the Bausch and Lomb solution for sensitive eyes.
The bottle tells me that this solution has been specifically formulated for sensitive eyes and claims that it can be used to clean, rinse, disinfect, lubricate and store my lenses. On the bottle there is also a dotted red line, when the solution reaches that line you have about a weeks worth remaining and so will need to buy a new bottle.
There are three steps to using this solution effectively, firstly rub both the back and front of the lens, then rinse to remove any residue and finally soak your lenses in a case for at least four hours.
Since I use continuous wear lenses (the ones you can sleep in) I only need to clean my lenses once a week. Usually I don't soak them I just rub and rinse them before putting them back in however this is under the advice of my optician so don't assume the same would apply to you as your optician may advise something different.
After a weeks wear there is a visible protein build up on my lenses and so I just rub and rinse my lenses on the palm of my hand (after thoroughly washing and drying my hands). I also sometimes use this if my lenses feel a little dry just as a bit of extra lubricant (I'm either very warped or have been reading too many erotic category reviews as my mind wandered a bit there!) and to moisten the lens a little bit.
This solution effectively removes all build up from my lens and when putting them back in my eyes are not irritated or red at all. The lens feels moist, cleaned and fresh and goes onto my eye easily, very rarely do I have to faf around removing air bubbles or getting the lens into the right place as it just slides onto exactly where it should be settling comfortably to stay there.
When I use this to lubricate and rehydrate my lens it works exceptionally well and no matter how dry the lens felt before rinsing it with this solution it always feels moist again by the time I put it back in. (Is it just my mind or is this review going more and more downhill!) There was even one occasion where I had lost my lens overnight and it had obviously completely dried up. This was my last pair and so as an emergency I soaked the lens in this solution hoping it would rehydrate enough to get me to the opticians - even on this occasion after soaking for around an hour the lens was completely rehydrated. For obvious reasons I wouldn't recommend anyone else do this and I have no plans to do it again it's always best to use a new pair or put on a pair of glasses if you lose a lens.
The active ingredients in this solution are: Poloxamine which removes dirt and "enhances wettability" (yes, that's actually what the box says!), Dymed to kill germs and several other ingredients which balance the solution to improve comfort.
It is free from Chlorhexidine and Thimerosal. I have no idea what these ingredients are but it does tell me in bold type that it is free from these so I assume this is what makes it suitable for sensitive eyes.
I would highly recommend this product and it's getting 5 out of 5 from me but as with any eye care product I would recommend talking to your optician before switching to this as not every solution will suit you.