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How does one get accustomed to wearing rigid gas permeable contacts?

Asked on October 05, 2017
Created July 07, 2017 at 5:36 PM

Getting used to RGP contacts takes a couple of weeks or more to become comfortable but for some of us our eyes still feel irritated and we do not know what to do. There are medical reasons for the lack of comfort and technical reasons for why the RGP lenses feel like grit in our eyes. I do not believe optometrists have been trained in anything but fit and optical perfoemance.

 Cleaning the lenses is important and we do not get proper guidance from US optometrists or from the solution makers. I have tried the cleaning systems by the major suppliers Bausch and Lomb and Lobob and hydrogen peroxide found in US pharmacies. Each cleans some but not enough. It is protein deposition which needs removal or one is doomed to a feeling of grit that is mistaken for intolerance of RGP lenses. Bleaching agents like Peroxide are not strong enough. After searching the internet, I found Menicon Progent a bleaching protein removal agent that one can order from other countries for maybe $20.00 for a 3 month supply. After getting a supply of the two solutions A and B from Japan complete with instructions in Japanese, I found a dramatic improvement in comfort that would last me 5-6 days before I could again feel the grit of protein deposition. After combining the two solutions, the smell was unmistakably that of simple bleach. On further searching through Australian and British suppliers the chemical composition of the solutions are two separate solutions of KBr(potassium bromide) and NaClO (sodium Hypochlorite or Clorox original recipe). I found it difficult to get the exact concentrations of each, an Australian site lists the mg% solution but when I calculated the concentration it seemed too dilute. I experimented with varying concentrations, I even tried the pure Clorox, washing thoroughly and putting the lens in my eye with no sting as the lens was washed well and the protein was removed well. Clorox is I think an 8% solution. KBr is a widely used photographic chemical which is cheap, comes as a lifetime supply from BHphoto as a crystalline form for maybe $7 and Clorox is $5 for a lifetime supply. I have been combining about one part Clorox in 8 parts distilled water (one gallon distilled water for $1) and about 2 fava bean sized crystals of KBr in one cup water then mixing 5cc or one teaspoon of each solution in a contact lens peroxide style vial where each lens sits neatly in plastic holder and letting this sit for 30 min or so. Next I rinse thoroughly in plain tap water then place the lenses in the plastic holder in a $35 ultrasonic cleaner for a 3 min cycle. You can get these ultrasonic cleaners at Amazon and they actually clean the lenses somewhat without the bleach. After this I rinse again in tap water then scrub the lenses in a typical soft contact lens cleaner/storage solution then store the lenses until use in the same soft contact lens solution (Alcon Optifree replenish). It seems the KBr removes protein and enhances the effect of just the sodium hypochlorite bleach.

 

So why can you not buy Menicon Progent in the US? It makes no sense unless the FDA is involved in ‘keeping us safe from ourselves’. I suppose some village idiot may put the unrinsed lenses directly from the bleach into their eye and suffer a corneal burn. I think the Progent is a bit weak already, I’m using more concentrated solutions but my rinsing process is comprehensive.

 

Medical reasons for poor comfort include allergic conjunctivitis. People who have mild eye irritation from dust and pollens get increased irritation when the hard plastic RGP lens is in their eye. After using nasal inhaled steroids which have been shown to reduce conjunctivitis and getting both tested for allergies by a board-certified Allergist not an ENT doctor who has never been properly trained as an allergist but dabbles just the same, and getting shots or allergy immunotherapy for about 6 months my eyes felt dramatically better. I could not tolerate the hard lenses for more than 3-4 hours now I can wear them for 12-14 hours in comfort. During allergy season maybe 10 hours of wear is possible by using occasional steroid Prednisolone ophthalmic drops. Steroid eye drops can be dangerous if used when herpes viruses are in the eye and there is a risk of cataracts with daily sustained use and should only be used when directed by a doctor. I also experimented with Alomide (lodoxamide ophthalmic). This is safe for daily use but is weaker than steroids. A prescription in the US was $170 for 15cc, I got the name brand, over the counter from a British pharmacy for $7 for 5cc bottles mailed to the US. It is not OTC in the States and one can thank Congress for allowing the egregious cheating by the multiple levels of pharmacy companies/benefit managers/middle men for the grossly indecent pricing faced by the American consumer. Why not allow the re-importation of pharmaceuticals? This would sort the industry out tout-de-suite, but then our Congressmen would not get greased through their conflicts of interest.

 

Ultrasonic cleaner, two kinds of bleach, consider allergy testing and treatment before giving up on the superior optical performance of RGP lenses. The cleaning I have outlined is cheaper than the mediocre solutions on offer in the States, proper Allergy care can cost maybe $1000/ year but can improve your quality of life more than just wearing the contacts.

 

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