Thursday, March 20, 2008
I first heard about ultrasonic lens cleaners from a contact lens forum where people were raving about the amazing ability for these cleaners to extend the life of lenses. In the past, these cleaners were expensive machines used by professional opticians. Now, through online purchasing, a relatively inexpensive version can be found on Ebay and Amazon.com. As I wanted to have my lenses last as long as possible, I decided to buy a Codyson Ultrasonic Lens Cleaner from Ebay.
The ultrasonic lens cleaner is a system for cleaning any type of contact lens (including clear, colored, and RGP lenses) using ultrasonic vibrations that break up protein, dirt, and any buildup on the lens surface. An amazing thing about this machine is that you don't need any fancy lens solution, like Opti-free or Renu. All you use is saline solution to clean and store lenses. You can find this under the name "physiological solution" at the pharmacy or you can use store-brand saline solution for contact lenses, found next to other lens solutions. I bought mine at Target. Two bottles of saline solution cost about 1/3 the price of one Opti-free and it is much more gentle for your eyes because it doesn't contain any harsh chemicals that disintegrate protein and wear down your lenses over time. It's also fantastic for people with sensitive eyes since saline is very close to natural human tears.
For daily use, there is a two-minute setting called "Clean" that cleans the lens. Once a week, you use the 6-minute disinfecting setting called "Strengthen." It's really nice that it takes such a short amount of time to clean since other solutions need 6+ hours to really clean your lenses but if you are up late studying or happen to sleep in your contacts, you can pop these in for two minutes and wear them fresh as new! Apparently, this is the best cleaning solution for lenses. Here is a magnified image of a lens before and after cleaning. (Pictures from The Shining Image on Ebay)
My Codyson came with:
* Small, egg-shaped ultrasonic cleaner
* Lens basket
* Soft-end Tweezers
* Power cord and adapter
* Small, empty bottle for solution
First, place saline solution in the metal tub in the cleaner.
Next, wash your hands and carefully place the lenses into the basket. Close the lid.
Place the basket/lid onto the cleaner and press either "clean" or "strengthen." Don't do both in a row for the same lens right after, since you don't want to risk tearing the lens from overdoing it many times in a row. You should hear a hissing or high-pitched whistling sound if you listen closely, but it's pretty quiet.
Finally, when the light turns off the lens is done being cleaned. You can take it out of the basket and put them in your eyes. Most people say they feel very fresh, like you are putting in new lenses. You can see the water droplets from the condensation on the basket my picture.
To clean up after you are done, rinse the basket in water or Opti-free/Renu type of solutions and let it air dry. The Codyson can be cleaned by soaking up the remaining saline solution using a damp towel or tissue. You don't want to just pour it out since the outside is not waterproof and you don't want to mess up the inner workings. Just make sure the saline solution is washed off for both parts so that salt crystals don't form on anything.
I think the Codyson works really great. They sell for around 20-40 USD depending on where you buy it and since you will save money on solution, it pays for itself pretty quickly. Not to mention, it can extend the life of your annual lenses to at least 2+ years and other shorter-life lenses for at least twice their duration. I'm not an eyecare professional so don't take my word for it, but I highly recommend trying it out yourself to see. At the very least, you'll have fresher, more comfortable lenses that last longer. What more could you ask for in a lens cleaner?