Mix-ups with contact eye solutions keep burning eyes


In 2010 we first alerted consumers to be careful when using Clear Care, a contact lens disinfecting and cleaning solution. Clear Care contains 3% hydrogen peroxide, which can cause pain and burning if it comes into contact with the eyes. Clear Care is packaged with a special lens cleaning case. When the product is used with the special case, the hydrogen peroxide is neutralized to a solution that is safe for the eyes. Generic versions of this product are also available. For example, store chains such as Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and Target carry store brands of the 3 % hydrogen peroxide disinfecting and cleaning solution.

photo 3
 Store shelf carrying Clear Care and a generic equivalent

Unfortunately, our organization continues to receive reports from consumers who have experienced harm after improper use of Clear Care and similar generic products. For example, some consumers have described placing the solution directly into their eye after mistaking the product as saline solution. Placing the product directly into the eye without the hydrogen peroxide solution being neutralized can cause significant pain and burning in the eyes. In other cases, consumers have purchased this product from the store shelf without realizing it must be neutralized before use by using the special lens case that comes with the product.

clearcare old.new1
 Figure 1 Old (left) and new Clear Care label.

Back in 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Ciba Vision Corp., the manufacturer of Clear Care were made aware of the reports received from consumers misusing this product. Ciba Vision, Corp. agreed to make some changes to its packaging (See figure 1) in an attempt to prevent any future misuse. However, we continue to receive error reports about this product.

With newer generic versions on the market, we are concerned about an increase in harm to contact lens wearers who mistake the hydrogen peroxide disinfecting and cleaning solution for saline solution. In stores, these products are stored in the same location and are similar in size and packaging. An unsuspecting shopper can easily buy and use the wrong product.

 red eyes4
After placing 3 % hydrogen peroxide
directly into the eye

We are constantly sharing our concerns with FDA regarding Clear Care and similar products. Our recommendations include the need for much stronger, well placed warnings on the product container labeling and a complete packaging redesign to automatically place solution into the neutralizing cup without pouring it.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Do not assume that all contact lens solutions are the same; read the package carefully for details.
  • Before removing your lenses for cleaning, carefully read the instructions for using the product you have selected.
  • Follow the product instructions carefully, step by step.
  • If you are using the Clear Care product, always use the lens case provided with the product.
  • Store lens cleaning solutions containing hydrogen peroxide separately from solutions used to rinse or moisturize your lenses.
  • When traveling take extra precautions to prevent a mix-up. Never borrow someone else’s contact solution.

Excerpts of reports we have received

“I burned my eye with Clear Care contact cleaning solution. This is what happened: I was tired as a working mom is at night and took out my contacts and put them into my regular contact case. Then being tired and near-sighted with my contacts out at this point, I reached for the bottle amid my other contact solutions in my medicine cabinet and filled my contact case and rubbing the contacts a bit with the solution. In the morning I put the contact in my eye.””

I used Clear Care hydrogen peroxide triple action cleaning to RINSE contact lens accidentally. Picked up the wrong bottle (instead of saline solution), rinsed lens and put it in my eye. Did not have my glasses on and couldn't see. Needless to say, I yelled and screamed as I tried to flush my eye with water and saline solutions. My eye has burned and hurt ALL day.”

“I accidentally used Clear Care Contact Solution for soaking my disposable lenses overnight. I had purchased the bottle some time ago, and grabbed it out of my cabinet for a business trip as it is close to travel size.”

“My niece burnt her eyes using clear eyes. We flushed her eyes for two hours and the burning was so intense that she cried for 12 hours and is now asleep. The emergency room said that we have to wait it out and she is seeing an ophthalmologist today.”


packaging hydrogen peroxide for eye1

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Created on November 12, 2012

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