Does Clear Care Solution Deep Clean Contacts?
- November 17, 2021
Reusable contact lenses require contact lens care solutions to disinfect, clean, and condition the lenses while minimizing toxicity to the eye. This keeps the contact lenses safe and comfortable to wear. While laypersons confuse disinfection, cleaning, and condition with one another, you should know the difference before we address whether Clear Care really “deep cleans”:
- Disinfection means reducing the microorganism load which could otherwise cause eye infection.
- Cleaning refers to removal of protein, lipid, and minerals that soil the lens.
- Conditioning has to do with increasing the wettability of the lens so that it is more comfortable.
Clear Care Contact Lens Solution
A commonly available contact lens solution system is Clear Care (Alcon). You can find it alongside the multipurpose (all-in-one) contact lens solutions. Clear Care has all sorts of red-color warning labels on the carton packaging and the bottle itself. If you inadvertently get Clear Care into your eye straight from the bottle, it can cause an excruciating chemical burn to the eye, and you probably will never do it again.
Clear Care contains purified 3% hydrogen peroxide. This is what you also put onto skin cuts for disinfection. Hydrogen peroxide is also the bleaching agent found in laundry detergent, including Tide. The Clear Care system uses a special contact lens case which keep your contact lenses submerged in the hydrogen peroxide, while a platinum-coated disc catalyzes the peroxide over 6 hours, turning the liquid into water and oxygen bubbles. The oxygen bubbles escape out of a small hole in the cap of the contact lens case. The bubbling activity conveniently confirms that catalysis is taking pace.
Does Clear Care Deep Clean?
The short answer is that while Clear Care cleans contact lenses, it probably does no better than other modern contact lens solution systems.
The packaging on Clear Care says, “Deep Cleans”. Recall that cleaning refers to removal of protein, lipid, and mineral deposits on the contact lens surface. A randomized control trial published in 2017 evaluated lipid or oily deposits on contact lenses using various contact lens solution systems, including Clear Care. The authors were unable to conclusively show that any solution evaluated – including Clear Care – in combination with various contact lens materials, was superior. A study published in 2016 evaluated protein deposits on contact lens materials with different contact lens solution systems, also including Clear Care. The findings were that no contact lens solution, including Clear Care, performed better than all others in removing protein from all contact lens materials tested.
In other words, Clear Care is effective at cleaning contact lenses, although there is ambiguity in what really is meant by “deep clean”.
Still An Excellent Contact Lens Care System
Although Clear Care does not perform in a superior manner in cleaning away lipid and protein relative to other solution care systems, it is an excellent solution care system. It is highly effective in disinfecting against several types of bacteria, including S. aureus, S. maltophilia, P. aeruginosa, and S. marcescens – although no better than the multi-purpose solution, Optifree Puremoist.
The main benefit of Clear Care is for patients with solution sensitivities to other multi-purpose solutions. When neutralized after 6 hours, Clear Care does not cause eye sensitivity. Due to the greater burden in having to wait for neutralization and the potential of un-neutralized solution burning the eye, Clear Care is often not a first-line contact lens solution system, but it is frequently recommended by eye doctors for patients with prior hypersensitivity to multi-purpose solutions.
ReVision Optometry in San Diego is a referral-based practice serving the needs of those with keratoconus and other complex eye conditions requiring medically necessary contact lenses to restore vision. Request an appointment online or call 619.299.6064.