Can I substitute the cheaper brown bottles of hydrogen peroxide for my hydrogen peroxide contact lens solution?

 

I often recommend hydrogen peroxide contact lens disinfection solutions because it has broad anti-bacterial activity and is preservative-free.  The solution needs to be neutralized with a catalytic disc which is usually built into the case that comes with the solution.  Once it’s neutralized (over a 6 hour period), the neutralized hydrogen peroxide is safe for your eyes. If you accidentally put the hydrogen peroxide solution into your eyes before it is neutralized, you’ll experience an uncomfortable stinging sensation and possible corneal damage.  Basically, it’s great IF you follow the instructions!

I had a question from a patient regarding the difference between the cheaper “brown” bottles of peroxide and the more expensive contact lens solution version (e.g. Clear Care).  The regular hydrogen peroxides are NOT approved by Health Canada for ophthalmic use.  Solutions approved for ophthalmic use go through rigorous testing with clinical trials, undergo evaluations regarding the stability of the solution, and must meet strict purification/sterility requirements.  The cheaper brown bottles of peroxide are not tested under the same quality standards and may not be compatible with contact lenses or your eyes.  Moreover, they are also not buffered to the pH of your tears at 7.4-7.6.  Lastly, hydrogen peroxide solutions for the eyes contain surfactants which help clean the lenses and keep them comfortable.

In summary, do not substitute please!

Dr. Jessica Chang, OD drchang@avenueeyecare.com

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