Tiny bubbles…

2 06 2014

No, I’m not going to sing for you.  Your ears and the neighborhood dogs will thank you.   But you can go to YouTube if you want to catch up on Don Ho singing his trademark song.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlCiDEXuxxA

The tiny bubbles that make me happy are actually from hydrogen peroxide contact lens disinfection systems.   There are for the most part two basic types of contact lens disinfection systems on the market:   1. Multi-purpose disinfection systems (e.g. Optifree PureMoist, B&L Renu or Biotrue, etc..)  or 2. Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) disinfection systems (e.g. Alcon Clearcare, B&L Peroxiclear).   In the old days we had heat systems that boiled the contacts but not anymore.  The only other type is a plug-in unit that uses UV light and ultrasound technology (Purilens).

H2O2 is the most effective type of disinfecting system for contacts.  It simply kills almost any germs that could contaminate your contacts.  Typically you put your contacts in some sort of basket in a vertical case that you fill up with the peroxide solution and it begins to bubble.  Much like when you put H2O2 on a wound before bandaging.

This bubbling action also tends to clean the lens very well without even rubbing the lens. This can save on torn contacts if you are rough handling the contacts or use a more fragile material.   You still have to be careful removing the contacts from the cage when done.  A cleaner lens is also a more water-loving lens and thus not as dry at the end of the day.  When the lenses get dirty, it irritates the linings of the eyelids, which produces more mucous and byproducts, which coats the lenses and makes them more hydrophobic, just like a waxed car.  When patients have any kind of dry eye problem, we recommend using a H2O2 solution to minimize preservative sensitivity reactions, known to cause inflammatory dry eye.

If it is so great, why don’t we recommend it for everyone as our first choice?   Well, a couple of reasons:  Number one, it’s a little more complicated to use.  The solution only goes into the case… never anywhere else.  Not on the contact and especially not to rinse the eye like saline.  Trust me, it burns like FIRE!  You do it one time and you hopefully learn your lesson.  I know I did.  While it doesn’t cause permanent damage, it can really hurt for several hours afterward, like if soap got in your eyes.  It remains H2O2 until the catalyst disc in the bottom of the case turns the H2O2 into salt and water.  Plain ol’ saline, like what your crying tears are made of.   That’s one of the beauties of  it.  There are no harsh preservatives to irritate your cornea and make them feel drier.  Just gentle saline the contacts are soaking in when they are done.   So, it is more complicated in using it which makes more room for error.

Secondly, it takes time for the chemical conversion of H2O2 to take place.  With Clearcare you must wait at least a minimum of 6 hours before removing your lenses from the case to be able to wear safely.  You can leave them longer but any sooner and the solution will not be completely neutralized resulting in the burning pain I alluded to earlier.  However, Bausch & Lomb has just released a new product called Peroxiclear, which only takes four hours to fully disinfect and convert to saline.  This may help those people whose jobs are very demanding and require short notice to be called back out to work yet providing superior disinfection and cleaner lenses.

Third, is the cost.  While it is only $2 or $3 dollars more in some cases, for some that is a big difference.  While I want my patients to use the best products first, sometimes they can’t.  So often times we will have patients try a multi-purpose solution first and see how that works for them.  The majority of time, that works great for them.  No discomfort, no eye irritation, no infections and for less cost.  But if they begin to have any difficulties in those areas, we definitely switch their disinfection system to a H2O2 system.

So, if in doubt which solution would be best to use, you can always check with our office first.  Trust me though, tiny bubbles makes my contacts feel fine.

Courtesy of Dumas Vision Source, PLLC and Dr Tory W. Moore, Optometric Glaucoma Specialist and Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry.    Serving the Dumas, Texas,  Moore County and upper Texas Panhandle area for 23 years.   Call (806) 935-2020 for appointment or visit our optical gallery without an appointment.  Visit our website www.visionsource-dumas.com for more information.  Like our Facebook business page:  Dumas Vision Source  and you can also connect on Twitter @eyedocdumas

Tory Moore, OD  – “A Hometown Eye Doctor You Know and Can Trust!”

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