Health

Contact lenses cleaner with rub and rinse steps

The best way for soft contact lens wearers to kill germs on their lenses is to "rub and rinse," even when using "no-rub" solutions, a new study suggests.

The best way for soft contact lens wearers to kill germs on their lenses is to "rub and rinse," even when using "no-rub" solutions, a new study suggests.

Modern multipurpose disinfection solutions are meant to simplify the process of caring for soft contact lenses. When these solutions were introduced, the standard instructions were to manually rub and rinse the lenses before soaking them overnight. 
The "rub and rinse" technique is recommended to disinfect soft contact lenses, Australian researchers say. (Reuters)

More recent "no-rub" solutions eliminate the rubbing step.

Researchers in Australia compared three types of multipurpose disinfection solutions for soft contact lenses:

  • Rub and rinse: a few seconds of rubbing and rinsing before soaking for several hours.
  • Rinse-only: no rubbing step.
  • No rub and no rinse: soaking only.

The study in the August issue of the American Academy of Optometry's journal Optometry and Vision Science compared different combinations of cleaning techniques, disinfecting solution and two types of soft contact lens to rank their effectiveness at removing bacteria, yeast, and mold cells.

"This study has demonstrated that 'rub and rinse' is the most effective regimen and should be recommended in conjunction with all multipurpose lens care solutions and all contact lens types, particularly with silicone hydrogel lenses," Hua Zhu of the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney and her co-authors concluded.

When the rubbing step was skipped in tests as recommended by some manufacturers, the effectiveness of the antifungal activity of the products fell, and none of the solutions met the criteria for antimicrobial action that contact lens disinfections must meet before being sold, the researchers said. 

Cleaning results were better with the "rinse-only" technique when solutions containing the preservative Polyquad were used. But "rinse-only" systems were effective in removing germs from one of the two types of silicone hydrogel lenses tested called galyfilcon A.

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