Product Reviews from a Scientific Perspective

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Clear Care - Hydrogen Peroxide Lens Cleaner

Does Clear Care work? How does Clear Care work?
Note: By using the information presented in this blog, you agree to the terms described in the post entitled "Mission Statement and Disclaimer." Basically, you can't sue.
Clear Care

The packaging, complete with basic directions.

Overview: Clear Care, by CIBA Vision, is a new lens cleaner solution. However, unlike most lens cleaner solutions, this uses hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide presumably disinfects and removes protein from the lenses better than an enzymatic cleaner. Plus, the bubbling is really cool to watch.
Mechanics: There are really two main things that a lens cleaner does. First: disinfect it. Second: remove proteins.
Disinfecting the lens basically keeps your eye from becoming infected by bacteria or fungus. This is pretty important, and not always guaranteed, considering that Bausch & Lomb’s ReNu with MoistureLoc actually caused fungal infections, leading to a lawsuit from some 600 users.
Removing proteins from the lenses will keep your lenses “fresher” longer. These proteins naturally come from your eyes, and when they build up on your lenses, will make them feel “thicker,” less flexible, dryer, and can even prevent oxygen from reaching your eye. Protein buildup on a lens is like caking your skin with mud. Your skin will be thicker, less flexible, dryer (because the mud will absorb any natural moisture from your skin), and your skin can’t breathe because its pores are being blocked up.
The way that Clear Care both disinfects and removes proteins is by using hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide naturally breaks down into H2O and a single oxygen atom, called a free radical. Free radicals are really reactive, reacting with whatever organic molecule that’s nearby. Of course, by reacting,
we mean that it destroys it. Think of a free radical as a spark that light anything on fire.
This means that the hydrogen peroxide can destroy most, if not all, germs and bacteria and fungi that surround the lenses. Basically, a bacteria or fungus cell has a skin. And like us, if you destroy that skin, you destroy the life of that germ. Its contents spill out, and the insides get destroyed. The only way a germ can cause trouble is by reproducing, because when it makes more of itself, there are more germs, which can release even more waste (just like us, any living organisms “poops”). But when we destroy the skin of a germ, the insides spill out and can’t work together, kind of like if you dismantle the pieces of your computer it’ll stop working.
I wish I could claim that I had my little four year old draw this, but alas, it is indeed my crappy little drawing.
So the hydrogen peroxide does a great job in disinfecting, but what about removing proteins? Well, it’s not as great as disinfecting. It turns out that punching holes in the skin of a huge bacteria cell is a lot easier than destroying a much smaller protein molecule. It’s as if you have a bag of popcorn (the cell), compared to a single popcorn (the proteins). Sure, it’s easy to rip a hole somewhere in the bag, but it’s harder to rip apart every single popcorn piece. Especially when those popcorn pieces are stuck into your carpet (the surface of the lens).
Still, the company claims that the “bubbling action removes protein, dirt and build-up.” So basically, as the little bubbles float up, they’ll kind of rub against the surface of the lens, pushing away the proteins.
The metal catalyst just makes the reaction go fast enough. Normally, if you just put your lens in a bottle of hydrogen peroxide solution, there won’t be much bubbling. If you watch the lens case closely, most of the bubbles being produced are from the metal catalyst. The metal catalyst doesn’t cause the hydrogen peroxide to break down into water and oxygen, but it does make it go much faster. A process that could take days or even weeks to finish is done in less than six hours, keeping the cleaning process merely overnight. 

Most Clear Care packages contain two bottles of solution. I'd buy this over the single one simply to save money, and save the environment extra lens cases. Click on the picture to purchase online.

Comparison to other products:
Most lens cleaners use enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that act, in strict scientific terms, act as catalysts (which make reactions go much faster than they otherwise would). Basically, they help a chemical reaction go even faster. In our case, these enzymes help destroy the skin of germs and remove proteins.
Enzymes can drill holes into the skin of germs, just like hydrogen peroxide. They’re just not as strong. As we saw, certain enzyme-based cleaners can allow, or even help, infections to occur. Hydrogen peroxide, however, reacts with virtually anything that’s part of a living organism. That’s why you can never put hydrogen peroxide in your eye – it’ll burn like crazy, because the hydrogen peroxide molecules are reacting with (read: destroying) the cells that make up your eye! Lens cleaner enzymes, on the other hand, have no problem being in your eye (unless you decide to go crazy with it).
So in terms of disinfection, Clear Care has the advantage. What about protein removal?

Protein removal is a bit more complicated. On one hand, certain enzymes are experts at ripping apart proteins in general. On the other, because enzymes are proteins, they can get stuck into the lens surfaces as well. Hydrogen peroxide has the potential to react with proteins, but this is a far cry from ripping them in half. Again, the hydrogen peroxide cleaner mostly works by bubbles.
Click to see the details in hi-res.
So in terms of protein removal, I’d call a tie here.
Personal Health
As long as you follow the directions, you’re fine. Don’t use any other hydrogen peroxide solution (because the first-aid ones contain lots of additives which are bad for your eyes, and are probably the wrong concentration anyway), don’t squirt the solution into your eyes, and wait the full six hours in the included lens case ONLY, otherwise you’ll burn your eyes, and very realistically damage them.
Environmental Imapct

You need to stop using each case every one hundred uses, which I’m not keen on. These little guys could pile up in a landfill somewhere, and as they don’t disclose the metal used on the package, I don’t know if this metal should be recycled in the name of resource conservation.
Costco has twin packs (2 16-ounce bottles) going for less than 15 dollars, making them very comparable with any brand-name lens cleaner.
Personal Experience:
I was really excited to try it, and the product does in fact give an advantage, but the effects aren’t incredibly huge. Your contact lens life isn’t going to totally change as a result of using this product.
Creative Usages:
I actually started alternating between using enzyme cleaners (in particular, Opti-Free Replenish and ReNu Multi-purpose) and the enzymatic cleaner. If you have dry eyes, and are willing to use both, I would go ahead and use the Clear Care hydrogen peroxide cleaner first (to disinfect and do some preliminary protein removal) and then place the contacts in a small amount of enzymatic lens solution, preferably designed for “retaining moisture” or “people with dry eyes” or whatever, and soak for less than an hour. Because they’ll already be disinfected from the hydrogen peroxide, you can let them sit for only a little bit in the “moisturizing” lens solution.
I would go ahead and at least try this product out. It works just as well, if not much better, than enzymatic lens cleaners, and it’s comparable (if not cheaper) price. You’ve really got nothing to lose here.
Personally, I’m going to continue purchasing this product. I get good results from this, and the price makes Clear Care definitely worth it.

Best Places to Get it:
These places are fairly cheap, unlike the local CVS and other chain drug stores, and often give you free shipping and huge discounts: 


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  1. This is look alike very good product. I am impressed with it's information which you provide here.

  2. To me, the most interesting part to this product is the use of the catalyst. After a little trip back to Chem 105, the transition metal compound Manganese Oxide is the catalyst.

  3. This is very good and helpful product who are wearing a lens. Lens must be clean otherwise they became dangerous for eye.

  4. I have decided to try one of the hydrogen peroxide cleaners on the market as well. Seems to work well enough. I use Optifree RepleniSH usually with no problems. I am good about rubbing the lenses before putting them in fresh solution.

    You bring up an excellent concern: I too am very concerned about all the waste produced from all these little cleaning containers getting tossed out every bottle. There should be a manner in which they are recycled.

  5. The use of the catalyst also gives you the ingenious ability to not have to rinse your contacts after the whole process is complete

  6. How can I tell that the case isn't good anymore? I don't want to keep using it and then end up burning my eye!

  7. I've just switched to a hydrogen peroxide solution in the last month. Had developed an allergy to the preservatives in normal solutions which gave me Dracula eyes.

    It's great. Really pleased.

  8. Write on the top the date you first used it, and change to a new one after, say, 70 uses (to be on the safe side).

    1. I'm wriing at a much later point in time. But all I find today to buy is the clear care brand or Walmart brand and both come with a catalytic container for each 16 are you able to extend your case time to more than one month?

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    Wow Excellent and great posting,i cameto about Does Clear Care work? How does Clear Care work?,with different levels of explanation in science point of view.


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