The Solution for Eye Contact Wearers

Eye contact solution quality affects eye dryness and comfort at end of day

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Most eye contact solutions look the same. But at the end of the day when your eyes are tired, the quality of the solution you choose can make all the difference in how those contacts feel.

Using a higher-rated contact lens cleaning solution was linked to less eye dryness and more eye comfort while wearing contacts at the end of the day compared to using a lower-rated solution, a recent study found.

Though eye irritation wasn't eliminated entirely, the researchers said that their findings highlight the need for researchers and eye doctors to improve comfort for contact lens wearers.

"Clean your contacts regularly and properly."

Daniel Tilia, BOptom (Hons), MOptom, from the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney, Australia, led a team of researchers in investigating whether contact lens solution affects how comfortable eye contacts feel.

Contact lens wearers report more frequent ocular symptoms, such as eye dryness and irritation, than non-lens wearers, according to the researchers.

This study included 41 adults who were randomly assigned to receive either a high or low quality lens care solution to wear daily for eight days.

Among the participants, 24 had ocular symptoms while wearing contacts and 13 did not have symptoms. The participants were unaware of the lens solution ratings.

Participants were required to be nearsighted in both eyes and have no eye or systemic difficulties that would prevent them from wearing contact lenses.

The contact lens care solutions were studied previously at the Brien Holden Vision Institute; one was rated most comfortable to wear by the end of the day and the other had the worst comfort ratings.

The lens care solution with the best rating contains a combination of galyfilcon A and polyhexanide LCP. The solution with the worst rating contained balafilcon A and polyquaternium-1.

The participants were surveyed on their eye comfort and dryness on a 10-point scale. The survey was given after participants inserted their contacts and after two and eight hours of wear on days 2, 4 and 6.

Other eye symptoms were assessed after wearing the contacts for eight hours on days 2, 4 and 6.

After using the first combination of contact lens solution for eight days, participants went 48 hours without any solution and completed another eighty day trial with the other lens solution combination.

In symptomatic patients, the first lens solution combination was rated significantly better in eye comfort and dryness than the second combination after wearing the contacts for eight hours, the researchers found.

The first combination scored 7.7 in comfort and 7.5 in dryness compared to 7.1 and 7.0 by the second combination respectively.

Dry eyes were less frequent and participants didn't notice their contacts as often when using the first combination of lens solution.

"In reality, the systems being used by most symptomatic wearers will fall somewhere between these limits, so the actual improvement gained might not be of the same magnitude," the researchers wrote in their report.

"On the other hand, it should be remembered that the group of systems from which our test combinations were drawn represent the best of those available in the current market place, and it is more than likely that other contact lens lens-care product combinations are in common use for which performance is worse than any of those previously discussed," they wrote.

Eye doctors have known for a long time that contact lenses and solutions interact with each other to affect vision and comfort, according to Adam Clarin, OD, an optometrist with Clarin Eye Care.

"When patients come in complaining about comfort, the first thing I do is change their solution and see them back," he wrote in an email to dailyRx. "Almost every time that will solve the comfort issue. I've found the best solution to be hydrogen peroxide based – that will solve problems with just about any brand of contacts."

Dr. Clarin, who was not involved in this study, also wrote that half of patients interested in contact lens wear were not successful for a myriad of reasons, with dryness and discomfort topping the list.

The researchers noted that the scale used to measure ocular symptoms might be limited. They also had difficulty recruiting participants who originally did not have ocular symptoms while wearing contacts.

The way participants were categorized might also have been problematic since it was based on how often each person had symptoms prior to the study. Another limitation was that a greater proportion of participants in the symptomatic group were women.

The study was published in the May issue of Optometry and Vision Science, a journal of the American Academy of Optometry.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 9, 2013
Last Updated:
August 22, 2013