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'Rub and Rinse' Best Way to Clean Soft Contact Lenses

SUNDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to soft contact lenses, rubbing and rinsing before soaking overnight is the best way to remove germs and prevent eye infection, according to new research.

In the study, published in the August issue of Optometry and Vision Science, the researchers noted this holds true even when using a "no-rub" disinfection solution.

"'Rub and rinse,' in conjunction with soaking of the lens, is the most effective regimen to recommend with all the multipurpose lens care solutions used with any type of contact lenses," the study authors, led by Hua Zhu, of Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney, Australia, explained in a journal news release.

In conducting the study, the researchers compared three methods for cleaning soft contact lenses: rub and rinse, including a few seconds of rubbing and rinsing followed by several hours of soaking; rinse-only and soaking; or soaking only.

The investigators used common multipurpose disinfection solutions (including those advertised as "no-rub" products) to remove cultured bacteria, yeast, and mold cells from commercially available soft contact lenses, including two types of silicone hydrogel lenses.

The study authors found the solutions were more effective when the "rub and rinse" technique was performed before soaking. In contrast, "soaking only" left more germs on the lenses.

Moreover, the "rinse-only" technique improved cleaning results when solutions containing Polyquad preservative were used. "Rinse-only," however, was less effective in removing germs from one of the two types of silicone hydrogel lenses tested called galyfilcon A.

Eliminating the rubbing step may leave more germs behind, the study showed. "Once adhered to a surface, micro-organisms can become less susceptible to disinfection," Hua and colleagues wrote.

The team concluded that the "rub and rinse" method is the best way to remove germs from all types of soft contact lenses. This step, they noted, is important to prevent eye infections in those who wear contact lenses.

More information

The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides more information on contact lenses.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Optometry and Vision Science, news release, Aug. 1, 2011

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