Anyone have questions about their contact lens solution?
I read an article online last week about problems with a “potentially dangerous” contact lens solution. Anyone else see this one? I had someone ask me about it that same day so I am sure there are many people who now have questions about the solution they or their children use.
The article was about the potential dangers of a contact lens solution called ClearCare. Many of you who have been in our office have probably seen ClearCare on the shelves. That is because when used properly ClearCare is an excellent choice for cleaning, disinfecting and rehydrating contacts. It is one of the few products on the market suitable for patients, like myself, who have chemical sensitivities and experience irritation and discomfort using other multipurpose contact lens solutions.
ClearCare is one of several hydrogen peroxide based lens cleaning systems on the market today. Do you use a hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens solution? What comes directly out of the bottle is literally hydrogen peroxide and as such will burn the eye, whether the contact is direct (dropping the solution straight into the eye) or indirect (dropping it onto your contact lens which then goes on the eye). If direct or indirect contact with the eye is made the result is a painful chemical burn which can take time and antibiotics to heal. In severe cases, chemical burns can lead to permanent scarring and vision loss.
To use ClearCare properly, a set of steps must be followed to the letter. ClearCare solution comes with a special lens case. This lens case MUST be used in tandem with the solution to make it safe. When you remove your lenses they go into a specially designed holder and then into a case filled with ClearCare solution. A chemical reaction takes place over 6 hours which neutralizes the hydrogen peroxide (ie: turns the peroxide into harmless saline). The chemical reaction is visible to the eye: you’ll notice the liquid in the case bubbles and fizzes during the reaction phase. After the reaction occurs, the fizzing and bubbling stops and the ClearCare solution in the case is no longer a danger to the eye. Contact lenses after soaking for 6 hours in ClearCare can go directly into the eye.
Obviously, fresh ClearCare solution needs to be used daily. It is also recommended that the lens case be replaced each time you open a new bottle of ClearCare (a case is always provided when you purchase a new bottle of solution). And if storing your lenses for an extended period, the ClearCare solution should be exchanged weekly.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go this smoothly. We have had, and probably will continue to have, patients who accidentally get ClearCare into their eye(s). Anyone ever gotten ClearCare in their eye? This is a rare occurance, but accidents do happen. To me, this doesn’t make ClearCare unsuitable for use, but it does emphasize the point that contact lens solutions should not be selected haphazardly or at random.
In the same way we carefully select a contact lens for each of our patients based on many factors, so to should contact lens solution be a well-thought out decision between doctor and patient. Doctors should be talking about it. Patients should be listening and following through with the recommendation. Has your eye doctor recommended you use a specific contact lens solution?
I alway try to make a specific recommendation to my patients about what type and brand of contact lens solution to use, however many people do not realize the importance of the recommendation or the potential consequences.
The type of solution I recommend to patients can vary depending on the contact lens brand and material,the patient’s age and general health, the wearing schedule for the lenses, any history of eye diseases or infections, any allergies or chemical sensitivities as well as lifestyle considerations, both occupational and recreational.
The take home message is that contact lens solutions should not be selected and used at random. Consultation with an optometrist is needed to determine what solution is right for each person. If you and your doctor decide a hydrogen peroxide solution is best, make sure you fully understand how to use the product and read the instruction pamphlet contained in the box prior to using the product. Any questions?
Until Next Time,