Tariq AL Fayad Blog

Think Before Buying Contact Lens Solution

By Tariq Al Fayad | 4 min read

With the emergence of contact lens, it has become an integral part of our daily life.

Many of us tend to fail on maintaining good hygiene contact lens practice.

You probably might think that your contact lens multi-purpose solutions (MPS) will clean, rinse, disinfect and store the lenses for you all the time.

Unfortunately, that’s not in all case.

Contact Lens

MPS is harmful?

MPS disinfectant property is based on the active biocide regime present, commonly available are: Polyquaternium-1 (trade name: Polyquad®); Myristamidopropyl dimethylamine (trade name: Aldox®); Biguanide; Hydrogen peroxide agent (absolute now), which are meant to breach the cell wall of microbes, but may also cause epithelial membrane toxicity.

So the excellent MPS should have something like effective antimicrobial activity and minimal cytotoxicity 1.

Renu MPS

Bausch & Lomb Renu fresh (formerly known as ReNu MultiPlus; ReNu) contains ’polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) regimen.

Biguanide component in the solution is cytotoxic and causes inflammation; corneal staining (micropunctate); corneal irritation and discomfort 2, 3, 4, 5.

ReNu MPS also inhibit the growth of cells after exposure 6.

Lievens CV, et al. study strongly concludes when Renu MPS used at a high frequency, its preservatives and additives shows adverse effects on eyes 7.


Alcon’s OPTI-FREE multi-purpose disinfecting solution POLYQUAD® (polyquaternium-1) 0.001% and  ALDOX® (myristamidopropyl dimethylamine) 0.0006% as disinfecting agents.

According to Cavet ME., et al. study reports OPTI-FREE Express (Alcon) reacts similarly to ReNu fresh and causes irritation and discomfort 8, 6, 4.

Santodomingo-Rubido J, et al. study ranks MPS cytotoxicity as follows: OPTI-FREE Express < Renu MultiPlus < Renu MoistureLoc 9.

In case of OPTI-FREE RepleniSH, they have minimal ocular discomfort and works effectively on lenses 2.

OPTI-FREE PureMoist solution has the HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix works on and in the lens, keeping the moisture on the lenses throughout the day.

OPTI-FREE PureMoist works better with SiHy lenses and OPTI-FREE RepleniSH works better with older hema-lenses.

What I want to say you?

According to Jones L, et al., the practitioner who fit SiHy lenses for daily wear basis should switch to the non-PHMB based regime to eliminate discomfort and complications 2, 3.

According to Andrasko G and et al., OPTI-FREE Express (Alcon) and OPTI-FREE RepleniSH (Alcon), as well as Clear Care, exhibited minimal staining area 3.

But according to Tanti NC and et al., Both the Alcon’s (OPTI-FREE** Express; OPTI-FREE RepleniSH), B&L (Renu; Biotrue) uses borate-based buffer system which increases cytotoxicity** of the MPS 4.

As of with my personal/ patients experience ‘PureMoist (Alcon’s) works wonder for SiHy lenses, daily wear basis.


‘RepleniSH (Alcon’s)’ best suits for Hema lenses and ‘Renu (B&L)’ for hydrogel lenses, extended wear basis.

  1. ^

    Gorbet MB, Tanti NC, Crockett B, Mansour L, Jones L. Effect of contact lens material on cytotoxicity potential of multipurpose solutions using human corneal epithelial cells. Molecular Vision. 2011;17:3458-3467.[PubMed].

  2. ^

    Jones L, MacDougall N, Sorbara LG. Asymptomatic Corneal Staining Associated with the Use of Balafilcon Silicone-Hydrogel Contact Lenses Disinfected with a Polyaminopropyl Biguanide-Preserved Care Regimen. Optometry and Vision Science. 79(12):753-761, DEC 2002[PubMed].

  3. ^

    Andrasko G, Ryen K. Corneal staining and comfort observed with traditional and silicone hydrogel lenses and multipurpose solution combinations. Optometry. 2008 Aug;79(8):444-54. doi: 10.1016/j.optm.2008.04.097.[PubMed].

  4. ^

    Tanti NC, Jones L, Gorbet MB. Impact of multipurpose solutions released from contact lenses on corneal cells. Optom Vis Sci. 2011 Apr;88(4):483-92. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3182045967.[PubMed].

  5. ^

    Daily Vanity, A woman was sent to the hospital after using this contact lens solution. Should you be worried?, (2017), (Available at https://dailyvanity.sg/beauty-reviews/bausch-lomb-renu-fresh-contact-lens-solution/) Date Accessed: 26 May 2018.

  6. ^

    Mowrey-McKee M, Sills A, Wright A; CIBA Vision Corporation. Comparative cytotoxicity potential of soft contact lens care regimens. CLAO J. 2002 Jul;28(3):160-4.[PubMed].

  7. ^

    Lievens CW, Hakim N, Chinn A. The effect of multipurpose solutions on the ocular surface. Eye Contact Lens. 2006 Jan;32(1):8-11.[PubMed].

  8. ^

    Cavet ME. et al. Comparison of the effect of multipurpose contact lens solutions on the viability of cultured corneal epithelial cells. Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, Volume 32, Issue 4, 171 - 175 [PubMed].

  9. ^

    Santodomingo‐Rubido, J. , Mori, O. and Kawaminami, S. (2006), Cytotoxicity and antimicrobial activity of six multipurpose soft contact lens disinfecting solutions. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 26: 476-482. doi:10.1111/j.1475-1313.2006.00393.x [PubMed].

And finally, sharing is caring. If you’ve found this article useful, please do consider telling your friends about it. All you have to do is send this article on WhatsApp and ask them to subscribe. Please :)


Tariq Al Fayad

Hi, I am Tariq Al Fayad, Optometrist & Private Practitioner in Tamil Nadu, India.
Follow me on: Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook