Patients and eye doctors often took contact lens solution for granted, or at least we all did in the past. Contact lens solutions have been shown to be a vital component of your overall contact lens comfort and ocular health. They can lead to or contribute to ocular irritation, blurred vision, allergic reactions and dry eye symptoms. Patients often present to our clinic looking for newer or different contact lens brands that provide more moisture, when the problem may be in the contact lens solution they use to store them in at home.
In 2007, Bausch and Lomb’s initiated a voluntary recall of their Renu Multi-purpose solution, after concerns that it may have been related to an increase in fungal eye infections. Other companies soon followed, with voluntary recalls of their own. The positive side of this story though is that new more stringent guidelines have been developed, and solutions most finally underwent rigorous eye care testing to ensure their efficacy and safety.
There are three categories of contact lens solutions: Multi-Purpose, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Saline Solution.
Brand Name - Multi-Purpose solutions
Brand name multi-purpose products are used for cleaning, disinfecting and storing your contact lenses overnight. All of these branded solutions use the latest in medical technology and disinfecting techniques to ensure optimal contact lens performance. They are all FDA approved and have undergone rigorous trial processes and lab testing.
- Optifree-Replenish by Alcon
- Optifree-Express by Alcon
- Renu by Bausch and Lomb
- Solo Care Aqua by Ciba Vision
- Complete by Advanced Medical Optics
- Sensitive Eyes by Bausch and Lomb
Private Label - Multi-Purpose solutions
Private label multi-purpose products are used for cleaning, disinfecting and storing your contact lenses. In most cases private label or no-name products tend to be older versions of contact lens solutions, which offer fewer added benefits to consumers. Products within these bottles can change, as manufacturers bid for contracts. So, really patients and doctors have no idea what they are using, which can lead to solution sensitivities and reactions over time. These products are FDA approved, and have gone through rigorous FDA approvals in the past.
- Equate by Wal-Mart
- Lens Care Multi-Purpose Solution by Life Brand
- Eye Assist by Rexall
Brand Name -Hydrogen Peroxide Solutions
Brand name hydrogen peroxide solutions are used to clean, disinfect and store your contact lenses over night. Hydrogen peroxide cleaning systems are great for patients with preservative allergies or dry eye. However, these products have very specific instructions that need to be followed. Talk to your eye care professional prior to using them.
- Clear Care by Ciba Vision
- AoSept Plus by Ciba Vision
- OxySept by Advanced Medical Optics
These products are only designed for rinsing contact lenses. These products are not designed to clean or disinfect your contact lenses.
- Sensitive Eyes Saline Plus by Bausch and Lomb
- Softwear by Ciba Vision
- Saline Solution by Life Brand
Still confused? Talk to your optometrist at your next annual contact lens examination.