A Guide To Cleaning Your Contact Lenses With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide solutions are a great way to clean, disinfect, rinse, and store your contact lenses. They are a great alternative for people who are sensitive to the preservatives in multipurpose solutions, and they are highly effective against acanthomoeba, a free-living amoeba that can potentially cause blindness through infection of the cornea.
Hydrogen peroxide on its own can cause stinging, burning, and corneal damage, so you must follow up the disinfecting process with a neutralizer. The neutralizer turns the peroxide into harmless oxygen and water, making it safe to put your lenses back into your eyes. There are two ways to use a hydrogen peroxide solution—a one- or two-step process.
One and Two Step Processes: How They Work
The one-step process neutralizes your lenses during the disinfecting stage, while the two-step process neutralizes your lenses after the disinfecting stage.
Some storage cases have a neutralizer built-in, making it a simple one-step process. With other cases, a neutralizing tablet must be added. This is the two-step process. Lenses go in the basket to be rinsed; the basket is then placed in the case or in a cup filled with hydrogen peroxide for cleaning and disinfecting. Regardless of which method you use, the lenses must be rinsed before you put them back into your eyes.
Hydrogen Peroxide Test Strips
Many people in the food industry are familiar with the test strips used for sanitizer and bleach water. The purpose of the test strips is to make sure the solutions are safe. The hydrogen peroxide test strips serve the same purpose for your eyes. These test strips are intended for use with concentrated hydrogen peroxide, which turns the strips black immediately. These strips can also be used to test peroxide-based contact lens solutions, but because of the additives, a 3% contact-lens solution will remain white for longer than untreated 3% peroxide; this is normal. You can order the test strips online, but if you’re using a neutralizer (which you should be) your solution will be safe enough.
Below is a list of the twelve top-rated hydrogen peroxide solutions available on the market. If you are not sure which one is best for you, ask your eye care practitioner to help you make the right decision.
- AMO OxyStep 1 & 2 Step
- Vision Direct – 1 Step
- Vision Direct – 2 Step
- Ciba Vision AO Sept+
- Ciba Vision Clear Care
- Allergan OxySept 1 Step
- Ciba Vision 10/10
- Ciba Vision Blue Sept
- Sauflon Multi
- Ultracare Disinfecting Solution/Neutralizer
- Oxysept Disinfecting Solution/Neutralizer
Hydrogen Peroxide Solutions Cost
The cost of hydrogen peroxide solution for contact lenses depends on where you purchase the solution, the brand, and the quantity. Most of the solutions listed above can be found in your local store or online for $10 to $20. Others may cost upwards of $100 or more. If you are interested in purchasing a hydrogen peroxide-based solution to clean and disinfect your contact lenses, visit the manufacturer’s web site first. Typically, they offer coupons and rebates to reduce the cost. Also ask your eye doctor about solutions he or she may offer in-office.
Hydrogen Peroxide Vs Multipurpose Solutions
Although hydrogen peroxide and multipurpose solutions perform the same functions (ridding lenses of debris, build-up, etc.) there are a few significant differences between the two. Both products are able to break up protein and lipid bonds to remove trapped debris, but hydrogen peroxide contact-lens solutions are able to penetrate microbial biofilms, something most multipurpose solutions cannot do. Some multipurpose solutions are capable of performing this task, but most cannot.
For some people the added step, neutralizing, is a drawback to the one-step multipurpose solution. But hydrogen peroxide does not contain preservatives, which makes it effective and safe for almost all contact-lens wearers, especially those who suffer from allergies or are sensitive to the preservatives found in multipurpose solutions. Plus, hydrogen peroxide is much more effective at battling acanthamoeba keratitis (an eye infection that may cause blindness) than all other types of contact lens solutions.
Always consult your eye-care provider before deciding on the best cleaning and disinfecting method for your lenses. Never change your lens-care system before consulting your eye care provider.
Talking to Your Eye Doctor
If you are interested in using hydrogen peroxide to clean and disinfect your contact lenses, talk with your eye care provider. Here are some questions you should ask:
- Based on the type of lenses I wear, would a hydrogen peroxide-based solution be safe for me to use?
- Which over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide solution do you recommend most?
- How often should I be going through a bottle of this solution?
- How often should I be using this solution? Daily? Weekly?
- Do you offer a hydrogen peroxide solution? If so, how much?
- What complications can arise from using this type of solution?