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  1. Contact Lenses

Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

UPDATE – July 26, 2023: The FDA issued the final guidance: Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Contact Lens Care Products: Consumer Labeling Recommendations - Premarket Notification (510(k)) Submissions. This guidance provides recommendations intended to help manufacturers develop labeling with information about specific risks and directions for use of hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens care products in conjunction with a user’s prescribed contact lenses in order to reduce misuse of the product. The guidance is also intended to help ensure that consumers are provided with clear information about the benefits and risks associated with the use of these devices.

Image showing hydrogen peroxide solution, as well as neutralization disc and lens.

Hydrogen peroxide and multipurpose solutions are used to clean and disinfect contact lenses (contacts). Both help to break up and remove trapped dirt, protein, and fatty deposits (lipids). Hydrogen peroxide solutions are generally preservative-free. This may be a better choice for people who are allergic or sensitive to the preservatives found in multipurpose solutions. However, hydrogen peroxide solutions are not risk-free and should be used according to the product labeling.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide Solutions Correctly

Placing hydrogen peroxide solution directly in your eyes or on your contacts before insertion may cause stinging, burning, irritation, or eye damage. The hydrogen peroxide solution MUST be neutralized to avoid eye damage. 

Neutralization can be a one-step or two-step process. The one-step process neutralizes the peroxide solution during the disinfecting stage using a contact lens case with a neutralization disc built-in. The two-step process neutralizes the solution after the disinfecting stage with a neutralization tablet that you add to the hydrogen peroxide solution. The neutralizer turns the peroxide into water and oxygen to make it safe to place your contacts on your eyes.

Picture depicting storage case with built in neutralization disc. Also indicates red tip on a container. Red tip means this is a hydrogen peroxide solution. NEVER put this in your eyes or rinse your lenses with this solution. Only use the lens case provided with the solution.

Always talk with an eye care professional before you decide which cleaning and disinfecting method you should use with your prescription contacts. Do not change your contact lens-care system before talking to an eye care professional.

Safety Tips 

  • Follow all instructions in the labeling when you use hydrogen peroxide solution.
  • Always use the case that comes with every new bottle. Do not use the old case when you get a new bottle of hydrogen peroxide solution. It will not neutralize the peroxide and may cause stinging, burning,  irritation, or eye damage when you place your contacts on your eyes.
  • Always soak your contacts in the hydrogen peroxide solution for the required length of time indicated on the labeling. The neutralizing process must finish before you place your contacts on your eyes.
  • Never rinse your contacts with non-neutralized hydrogen peroxide solution before insertion or put non-neutralized hydrogen peroxide solution directly in your eyes. You may experience stinging, burning, irritation, or eye damage. The red tip and cap on most hydrogen peroxide solution bottles are a way to recognize that hydrogen peroxide is inside and takes special care. 
  • Never allow others to use your hydrogen peroxide solution. They may confuse it with multipurpose solution and not use it according to the specific instructions. This may result in stinging, burning, irritation, or damage to their eyes.

Incorrect care of contacts can increase your risk of eye infections and injury, and can cause blindness in rare cases.

Report any problems associated with hydrogen peroxide solutions to the FDA’s MedWatch voluntary reporting program.

Additional Resources

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