A study conducted by Bausch & Lomb in August showed that many adults regularly use potentially harmful chemicals in place of contact solution to moisten their lenses. Everything from baby oil, to lemonade to butter was reportedly used as an alternative to proper contact solution by one eighth of the two thousand adults polled in the survey conducted in the UK.
A larger number of the respondants reported that they have used saliva when putting lenses in their eyes. Since research shows that the average adult mouth is known to house hundreds of different types of germs, this is clearly not a good idea. To worsen the situation, far too many individuals assume that tap water, bottled water or distilled water are a suitable substitute for contact lens solution, nevertheless even pure bottled water or distilled water can contain microorganisms that can cause damage to the eye and have been linked to Acanthamoeba keratitis, a sight-threatening corneal infection. Even more so, if you get water in your eyes when swimming or bathing while wearing your lenses, it's advised to take out your contacts as quickly as you can and disinfect them so no bacteria can get stuck underneath.
The only thing that should be used to rinse, sterilize, moisten or soak your contacts is approved contact solution. It's dangerous to store your contact lenses in water! Storing your lenses in water does not sterilize them and dangerous pathogens can gather on your contacts within minutes and enter your eyes with the contacts. Further, contact solution is balanced to match the saltiness of the tear film in your eyes and water on the other hand can cause discomfort or blurred vision because your lenses may stick or change shape.
If you know that you do not have the means to properly disinfect your lenses, definitely consider using one-use contact lenses rather than lenses that you reuse. Be sure to take into consideration your way of life when you are choosing between daily disposables and reusable contacts.
Keep in mind that failure to properly clean and disinfect your contacts with approved lens solution can lead to severe eye damage or even complete blindness.