Human Coronaviruses Easily Removed From Contact Lenses With Saline

Women's hands pour a solution for contact lenses into a container.
Women’s hands pour a solution for contact lenses into a container. Contact Lens Accessories
Virus particles were easily removed from the contact lenses regardless of their material composition, according to the report.

Human coronaviruses can easily be removed from contact lens (CL) surfaces by rubbing or rinsing with saline solution, according to research published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye.

Researchers analyzed the binding rates of 2 seasonal human coronaviruses (HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43) to 8 soft CL materials and 4 rigid gas permeable materials. They evaluated the influence of a rub and rinse step to remove these viruses from all materials and determined the efficacy of various solutions in removing viral contamination from 2 soft lens materials (etafilcon A and lotrafilcon B). 

The researchers found that approximately 102 to 103 infectious viral particles were recovered from each CL after performing “no rub or rinse” treatment. They stated that some materials were more prone to coronavirus adhesion. However, both coronaviruses decreased below the limit of quantification (LQ) from all materials using a simple saline rinse step, according to the report. The team noted that exposure to some of the solutions reduced the number of infectious viral particles from both etafilcon A and lotrafilcon B to below the LQ, while exposure to others reduced infectious viral particles for both etafilcon A and lotrafilcon B to below the LQ only when additional rub and rinse steps were included.

“The results of this study have demonstrated that various conventional hydrogel, silicone hydrogel and rigid gas permeable CL materials were similarly prone to human coronavirus adhesion, which can be easily removed from CL surfaces when rubbed or rinsed with only saline,” according to the researchers. “This study also demonstrated the importance of following the disinfection regimens of CL care products to remove infectious coronaviruses from CL surfaces that can potentially lead to human infections.”

This study was limited by the inclusion of a limited number of CL care products.. 

Disclosure: This research was supported by Ophtecs Corp. Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures. 


Nogueira CL, Boegel SJ, Shukla M, Ngo W, Jones L, Aucoin MG. The impact of a rub and rinse regimen on removal of human coronaviruses from contemporary contact lens materials. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. Published online May 23, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.clae.2022.101719