Practical Pointers & Products for Contact Lens Wearers

Contact lens tips & products from Rebecca Petris of the Dry Eye Shop

One of the most anticipated talks at the KC Family Symposium was the presentation by Rebecca Petris, owner of the Dry Eye Company. By way of introduction, she shared her story: after lasik surgery, she developed extreme dry eye and investigated products that would ease her symptoms. She soon acquired such a wealth of knowledge she changed careers and created an on-line boutique that serves contact lens wearers and individuals with dry eye. Rebecca has gained the trust of both clinicians and patients with her honest and helpful tips. She runs on-line message boards, offers advice and information through her blogs, and sells product on-line and through her Dry Eye Shop in western Washington.

A video of her presentation to the KC Family Symposium will be available on our website shortly and is worthwhile viewing.

Ubuffered vs. Buffered

Every day she is asked questions about rinsing, filling, cleaning and disinfecting lenses. One common question involves buffered or unbuffered saline solutions. Rebecca offered a few pointers on the subject of choosing the right contact lens solution.

  • Unbuffered saline has two ingredients: purified water and sodium chloride (salt) and the bottles are sometimes labeled as sodium chloride solution.
  • Buffered saline has four ingredients: purified water, sodium chloride plus sodium borate and boric acid. Why? These ingredients raise the pH of the solution to more closely match the pH of natural tears and to stabilize the pH so it doesn’t get more acidic after the bottle is opened.

Patients with dry or sensitive eyes may find unbuffered solution causes irritation or burning and select a buffered solution to use. On the other hand, some doctors recommend that their patients try unbuffered solutions because they find the buffers can be an irritant. Ask your lens provider which type of solution you should be using.

And, after you’ve decided buffered or unbuffered, you’ll have other choices to make, based on packaging size, shape and cost. Purilens Plus and ScleralFil are both available in a buffered solution. LacriPure, and Addipak and Modulose (which are commonly used off-label by scleral lens wearers) are sold as unbuffered products.

Saline Product Guide

To compare cost and size availability, and to learn about other considerations, check out the Saline Product Guide at the Dry Eye Shop.