Rubbing and rinsing contact lenses (CLs) prior to wearing them may protect patients against CL-related eye infections, according to research published in Clinical Ophthalmology.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey of consecutively recruited participants who wear CLs using an anonymous online questionnaire between November 2020 and March 2021. The study aimed to determine demographic traits, hygienic behavior, and complications related to the use of CLs. 

The team summarized participant responses as a total behavior score, and evaluated potential risk factors for a history of CL-related eye infections. They enrolled 134 volunteers who wore CLs a minimum of once per week within the past month (mean age 31.14 ± 10.69 years, 83.58% women) in the study. According to the total behavior score, 62.69% of the study population exhibited good CL behaviors, such as wearing CLs for less than 8 hours per day (52.24%), always checking the packaging and expiration date (88.06%), confirming the correct orientation of the CL sides prior to use (92.54%), washing their hands with soap before lens handling (67.91%), and inserting and removing CLs starting from the same eye (75.37%). 


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Overall, researchers determined that more than 50% of participants handled CLs appropriately. Favorable behaviors included practicing the rub and rinse regimen before (41.04%) and after (41.79%) using CLs, using an appropriate CL cleaning solution (62.69%), and soaking CLs in cleaning solution for more than 6 hours (89.55%).

Common unfavorable behaviors (>50%) included not using CL cleaning solution to clean the storage case (60.45%), not rubbing and rinsing the lens before storage (58.21%), exposure to water during CL wear (78.36%), using makeup close to the eye (55.97%), and missing annual eye exams (76.87%). 

The researchers noted no significant differences in the history of CL-related eye infections between participants with good (21.42%) or poor (22.00%) CL behaviors. However, they did find that practicing the rub and rinse regimen before inserting CLs provided a protective factor against a history of eye infections (AOR=0.133, P <.001).

“Since the distribution of CLs in Thailand is not regulated, it is unnecessary to consult a professional for CL fitting; thus, people receive no professional advice at the beginning,” according to the investigators. This often results in individuals having an inadequate knowledge of appropriate cleaning and storage methods. However, the results of the study revealed some level of awareness of the importance of CL cleaning and disinfecting. “Interestingly, the practice of cleaning CLs before wearing them is the only behavior demonstrated as a protective factor against eye infections.”

Study limitations include the potential for volunteer sampling bias. 

Reference

Juhong J, Mordmuang A, Jewboonchu J, et al. Rub and rinse contact lenses before wearing as a protective regimen against contact lens-related eye infections. Clin Ophthalmol. 2022;16:567-577. doi:10.2147/OPTH.S357099