contact lensROCHESTER, N.Y.—Baby oil, beer, Coke, petroleum jelly, lemonade, fruit juice and butter are among the substances some contact lens wearers occasionally use instead of contact lens solution, a new Bausch + Lomb study revealed.

The study, which polled 2,000 adults in the U.K. in August 2011, found that 20 percent reported using these and other unconventional and dangerous lubricants when putting lenses in their eyes. In addition, an overwhelming proportion of respondents reported using saliva or tap water as a solution when putting lenses in their eyes. The average adult mouth contains 500 to 650 different types of bacteria. Both tap and distilled water may contain micro-organisms that can cause damage to the eye and have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, a corneal infection that is resistant to treatment, according to B+L.

“It’s crucial for contact lens wearers to follow proper contact lens hygiene to maintain eye health and to keep their lenses clean and comfortable,” said Michael Pier, OD, director of professional relations, Bausch + Lomb, makers of Biotrue, a multi-purpose contact lens solution. “To take the best care possible of your lenses, avoid methods of cleaning disinfection and lubrication that have not been approved for use with contact lenses and recommended by your eyecare professional. It is important to stick with the multi-purpose solution you’ve discussed with your doctor.”