While taking proper care and cleaning your contact lenses is not necessarily something that commands a lot of thought, it is nevertheless important because carelessness can result in needless eye infections and problems. While it is easy to forget or skip cleaning your lenses, it does not take a lot of time and is something that should reasons be taken seriously for the above.
Keeping contact lenses clean is also an issue that is subject to a great deal of research – since the cleanliness of contact lenses as well as lens cases used for storing them has a material impact on how healthy and safe they are to wear.
Compliance with cleaning contact lenses is an issue many eye care professionals are concerned about since study after study around the world tends to highlight that contact lens wearers still have a tendency not to comply with contact contact lens cleaning and wear schedules.
Contact lens cleaning systems basically fall into two main categories -hydrogen peroxide-based systems and multipurpose solutions. Hydrogen peroxide-based systems are less popular than than multipurpose systems, but the use of hydrogen peroxide cleaning solutions has been increasing slightly over the past few years.
In addition, there is considerable variation by country in terms of the use of lens care products. For example, according to data from A.C. Nielsen, hydrogen peroxide-based systems account for just under 16% of the market in the US, while this figure is 25% in Canada.
Hydrogen peroxide system use
Hydrogen peroxide systems also have two basic types of systems. There is a one-step process where the hydrogen peroxide is turned into water over time through a catalyst and then a two-step process that requires a neutralizing agent to be added after a certain amount of time. Some studies have shown that the two-stage cleaning process can be very effective, although very few contact lens users actually nowadays use a two-stage process.
Effectiveness and limitations of hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide cleaning systems offer several major benefits when it comes to cleansing contact lenses or contact lens cases. For example, they are far more effective when it comes to getting rid of several types of [highlight type=”dark”]Fusarium fungi[/highlight]. In a study reported in Optometry and Vision Science, five multipurpose solutions were tested against two hydrogen peroxide cleaning solutions and the results clearly showed that only some of the multipurpose solutions were less effective against the fungi.
Multipurpose solutions contain preservatives and this is another reason why some people use a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning solution because some people either are sensitive to or can become sensitive to the preservatives used.
However, the use of hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning solutions is not entirely without any limitations. Some studies have suggested that the one-step process may not be as effective against some resistant microbes especially if the lenses are left a long time in neutralized solution because this can allow the microbes to regrow. In addition, contact lens wearers who forget to neutralize the solution and insert the lenses learn a painful lesson as hydrogen peroxide is toxic to the cornea.
The issue of whether to choose a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning system or multipurpose solution is an important one and contact lens wearers should discuss both options with their eye care professional. Ultimately, if cleaning contact lenses is too much bother and hassle, then switch to daily disposable lenses instead. Your eyes are important and ocular health is something to be taken very seriously.