When it comes to cleaning your contact lenses, there are more options than your typical ‘rub & rinse’ cleaning solution (also know as multi-purpose solutions or MPS) such as Opti-Free, ReNu, Complete, Biotrue, etc. Some lesser known options are the hydrogen peroxide contact lens solutions such as Clear Care and Peroxiclear (evidently, market research found the term ‘clear’ to be favorable for these product names).
What Are Hydrogen Peroxide Based Solutions?
They serve the exact same purpose as your typical MPSs. They clean and disinfect your contact lenses so you can safely reuse them the next day.
The primary disinfecting agent in these solutions is 3% hydrogen peroxide. Yes, this is the same ingredient as in 3% hydrogen peroxide topical solution that we commonly use to disinfect cuts, and no, do not use that to clean your contact lenses instead! Though 3% hydrogen peroxide is the main ingredient in products such as Clear Care and PeroxiClear, it is not the only ingredient. Furthermore, the hydrogen peroxide MUST be neutralized before the contacts can go back in your eyes, which is done through the specialized cases that come with these products.
How Do You Use Them?
You use them a little differently than the MPSs. First and foremost, you must never allow the solution in the bottle to come into direct contact with your eyes. The solution must be neutralized first.
Neutralization is achieved by using the specialized case that comes with your bottle of solution. The case resembles a little plastic cylindrical vial with a twist off cap. Attached to the cap is are little fold down baskets for your contact lenses, and the neutralizing block. To use a hydrogen peroxide based solution you:
- Unscrew the cap and lower the basket labelled right (or left).
- Remove your right (or left) contact lens and place it in the basket. Center the lens as best as possible to avoid damaging it.
- Repeat the above steps for your other contact lens.
- Fill the plastic vial with your hydrogen peroxide solution up to the indicator line.
- Insert the cap bit back into the vial and twist until securely in position. (At this stage is it normal to see bubbles forming inside the vial)
- Wait 6 hours before opening the case again.
- After six hours, the hydrogen peroxide has been neutralized to a basic saline solution and it safe to contact the eyes.
- Twist off the cap and insert your lenses. It is OK to use the neutralized solution to rinse your contacts.
- Once both lenses are inserted, dump the remaining solution out and allow the the case to dry in a safe, clean place (cap and vial apart).
- Repeat the process the next time you remove your lenses.
I strongly recommend that you inform everyone in your household that these are not regular contact lens cleaning solutions and must never come into contact with their eyes. I have heard many people tell me that their bother or sister ran out of their contact lens solution and picked up a bottle of Clear Care thinking it was just another MPS and gave themselves a pretty painful chemical burn on the eye.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The advantage is that it cleans and disinfects better than regular solutions, and its effectiveness does not rely on how well and how long you rub your lenses. And since you don’t have to rub your lenses, it is quicker to put them away at the end of the day. You simply take them out of your eye, and put them into the case.
The disadvantages are that once you put your lenses away, you cannot re-wear them for at least 6 hours. For most people this is not a problem because they put them away at night and only re-use in the morning. But it makes taking them off and putting them back in throughout the day pretty difficult. And secondly, they are a little more expensive than regular solutions.
What Brands Are Out There?
As I’ve previously mentioned, there are two leading brands for products like this. The first one is Clear Care by Alcon which has been around since the early 2000s, and the second one PeroxiClear by Bausch & Lomb which launched in 2014.
What are the differences between them? Not much in my opinion. However, PeroxiClear does boast a 4 hour neutralizing time versus Clear Care’s 6 hours. Either one will work fine for all contact lens brands (except daily lenses).
- Kills 99.9% of germs
- Ready in only 4 hours
- Helps lenses retain moisture up to 20 hours
- Uses exclusive HydraGlyde® for longer lasting moisture
- No preservative (no harsh chemicals)
- Triple Action cleaning (see it working)
Personally, I use to use Clear Care when I wore contact lenses. Not that I had anything against Peroxiclear, it just hadn’t hit the market when I was still wearing contacts. I had my LASIK surgery the same year Peroxiclear was launched.
If you are new to contact lenses, it is good to know how to use regular cleaning solutions as well as hydrogen peroxide based solutions.But once you’ve used regular solution long enough and got the hand of it, try switching to a hydrogen peroxide based solution under the guidance of your eye doctor. They can offer a better and more consistent cleaning every time. In the end, this makes the contacts safer and more comfortable.
Hi Julie, can I check is this the same Hydrogen peroxide that is used in hair dye? If it is, it is mental! I use contact lenses, but because of fear of something going wrong categorically (not really, I’m too lazy to clean and look after them properly), I pay a little extra for the daily disposable ones and I can wear them for around 12 hours a day before I start to notice them beginning to dry inside my eye. If I ever feel I can no longer afford to pay the extra, then this very detailed article could just save my sight, so thank you very much!
Yes I believe you are right that hair dye does contain hydrogen peroxide. In fact, I recall reading somewhere that you can bleach your hair with 3% hydrogen peroxide alone! There’s no question that this is a strong solution, and that’s why is cleans contact lenses so well. It’s also why you can never let it touch your eyes directly. After it has been in the case for 6 hours, it is no longer hydrogen peroxide. At that point it is safe to contact the eyes. Thanks for reading!
You give very good information and good Pros and Cons about Peroxide Contact Lens Solution.. Peroxide is natural and can have many benefits. Nice Job!
Thanks for reading, I appreciate your feedback :)
Julie, Thank you for writing this post. I found it very helpful and may consider switching to some form of hydrogen peroxide solution. I currently use acuvue oasis which has worked really well the past 10 years but I feel like the solution doesn’t clean the contacts that well overnight. Do you think that the clear care solution would be better? Thanks.
Yes, if you are unsatisfied with your current level of comfort, I recommend first switching to Clear Care, or PeroxiClear, and if the problem persists, it may be time to consider a daily contact lens. Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes Acuvue Oasys has several daily options that would perform similar to Acuvue Oasys, but you won’t have to worry about cleaning them anymore. Let me know how things work out!
I found this article at just the right time. After wearing glasses for the last 30 years, I will be getting contact lenses within the next couple of weeks. The hydrogen peroxide solution is something I would definitely be interested in trying. I want my lenses to be as clean as possible and the issue of having to wait up to 6 hours to wear them is not a concern when you take them out before you go to bed. Thanks for sharing this information, as I didn’t know I had this choice. :)
Hi Michelle! Getting into contact lenses for the first time is always so exciting! Congratulations and I hope you are able to wear them for 30 more years to come! :D
Hi! Great article! I have a couple questions though. Hydrogen peroxide solutions are more expensive, so is it ok to ever re use solution after lenses have been soaked for 6 hours? Or let’s say some of my contact solution falls out and I have half left in the case, can I mix te old solution with new solution?
Hi! Great question.
Hydrogen peroxide solutions are not intended or approved to be used in the ways that you mentioned. You have to replace all of the solution with new solution after every use. You can’t use solution that’s already been used, or mix old and new solution.
The reason for this is that, after the 6 hours, the solution becomes completely neutralized and posses no cleaning power whatsoever. Reusing old solution is completely ineffective, and can lead to contaminated contacts.
Unfortunately, hydrogen peroxide solutions are more expensive the multi-purpose solutions. If you would to try it out before purchasing a large supply, you could ask your eye doctor for a sample sized bottle. Make sure someone there teaches you how to use it properly, as it is very different than regular solutions.