Contact Lenses

Can I Store Contacts In Water For The Night?

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: January 16, 2017
Can I Store Contacts In Water For The Night?

There may be times when you go for a night out at a friend’s place and you forget to bring your contact lens solution. Refilling the contact lens solution time and again also seems to be a difficult and expensive task. When you run short of contact lens solution, the first thing that comes to your mind is: can I store contacts in water for the night or not? Read this article to know the answer.


  1. The answer is no
  2. What does contact lens solution contain?
  3. What to do if you don’t have a contact lens solution

The answer is no

Although the water that you receive in your home is perfect to drink, it still contains some bacteria. When you put your contacts even in purified water during the night, your lenses stay in contact with the bacteria for a prolonged period of time, and develop potentially serious and unpleasant infection. While contact lens solution is effective in disinfecting the lenses after the wear, water does not do this. When left untouched for overnight, the lenses may get contaminated with harmful fungi and bacteria. When you place these lenses back in your eyes, the microorganisms may get transmitted in your eyes, rapidly multiply, and give a nasty infection to you. Even if you are saved from the infection, they will at least cause some irritation and pain.

What does contact lens solution contain?

As opposed to water, a contact lens solution contains several ingredients that are effective in cleaning and disinfecting the lenses.

  • It contains a disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the lenses and kill any fungi or bacteria in them. According to experts, it is important to clean and disinfect the lenses everyday to avoid any infection. Water is not capable of disinfecting the lenses, due to which the user gets high risks of getting an eye infection or irritation. Sometimes, this can even lead to permanent eye damage.
  • Some cleaning solutions contain an abrasive, along with a surfactant or detergent to clean any buildup on the lens surface without causing any scratch. Some solutions also contain minute silica gel particles to cause abrasion. These particles are effective in removing any protein deposits on the lenses, which is a major cause of problem for soft contacts wearers.
  • Certain brands of contact lens solutions contain boric acid which works as a great anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent. Like hydrogen peroxide, boric acid also prevents microorganism growth on the lenses and the eye. Edetate disodium and ascorbic acid are also used in these solutions as preservatives. Ascorbic acid works by protect the lenses against bacterial and fungal growth, and edetate solution works by stopping any microorganism growth on the lenses.

What to do if you don’t have a contact lens solution

If you don't have contact solution, do not try to leave contact lenses on overnight under any circumstances.

One of the best alternatives to contact to store contact lenses without solution is saline solution, which is cooled boiled water mixed with some salt. However, do not use this solution as a habit, and use it only under exceptional circumstances.

Another thing you can do is to keep an extra pair of lenses with you all the time. You can dispose off the old pair before going to bed or after swimming, and insert the new ones as and when needed. Never sleep with your lenses in your eyes, as it can cause a great deal of irritation, inflammation and infection in your eyes.

Can I Store Contacts In Water For The Night? - What to do if you don’t have a contact lens solution

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Can I Store Contacts In Water For The Night?, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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Can I Store Contacts In Water For The Night?