Is There An Alternative to Boston's Enzymatic Cleaners?
March 17, 2011 1:16 AM   Subscribe

I hate what Boston (Bausch & Lomb) did with their enzymatic cleaner for Rigid Gas Permeable lenses. Is there a substitute?

Every week or so I used to stick my RGP lenses in some vials along with some enzyme tablets and some sterilized solution. You are supposed to do this in addition to daily cleaning, to break down the protein deposits on your lenses. Ok. I could deal with this.

Somehow this changed to just a little bottle, from which you squeezed a few drops of enzymatic cleaner on to your lenses, and let it sit along with a conditioning solution over night. Ok, this was fine too. Even more convenient.

Now this has changed to a pack of several little plastic tabs. You open a tab and it has a tiny drop of enzymatic cleaner. You use one tab for each contact.

Not only is this is a waste of plastic and environmentally unsound, it's a rip off compared to having an entire bottle full of drops. UGH. Is there another company that produces enzymatic cleaners for RGP lenses?
posted by The ____ of Justice to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't say for sure since it has been a few years since my RGP's, but when I had them, I used to buy generic everything, because boston was too expensive. including the enzymatic step. i'm assuming you've scanned the shelf at walmart or target or similar (fwiw, i've found that only target stocks the solution i use now, whereas other things i can only get at walmart, so you might want to check both and other options before giving up). also, have you tried just asking your optometrist? maybe other things notspecifically marketed for rgp's would be ok to use as well (but i never would without asking the md first)...
posted by Tandem Affinity at 3:18 AM on March 17, 2011

Not only is this is a waste of plastic and environmentally unsound, it's a rip off compared to having an entire bottle full of drops.

That bottle is also filled with preservatives which are probably not necessary to put into a single-use vial. Trading off more plastic for less preservative in the environment seems not "unsound."

Paying more to reduce the amount of preservative in the environment seems also not unsound.
posted by three blind mice at 3:33 AM on March 17, 2011

This doesn't directly answer your question, but I have had rgps for 20 years and have done the enzymatic cleaning like three times ever. Does not seem to have caused me any problems.
posted by yarly at 5:14 AM on March 17, 2011

I swear by Clear Care. No other cleanser necessary--it is the bomb. Just make sure you don't go putting any directly in your eyes.....
posted by Go Banana at 6:36 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

This doesn't directly answer your question, but I have had rgps for 20 years and have done the enzymatic cleaning like three times ever. Does not seem to have caused me any problems.

This may be the answer. I used RGP contacts for a while, and the daily cleaner I used seemed to be some kind of "soft scrub" mild abrasive. If that's what you use, the enzyme cleaner may not be necessary. If you use an "easier" no rub kind of daily cleaner, maybe switching to this kind would solve the problem.

On the other hand, different people's eyes generate different deposits. Way back when they were expensive, I had to move to disposable (soft) contacts, because my eyes would jack up non-disposable ones within 6 months or a year- no amount of regular cleaning would keep the gunk from building up.

So another solution, if all else fails, would be to see if moving to soft contacts might be preferable.

(In the soft contact world, there are enzymes in the nightly "cleaning" solutions. Maybe you could ask your eye doctor if some other manufacturer offers a product that works better. Last time I was in the eye care aisle at the store, there were tons of different little bottles of enzyme drops- I am fairly certain they are all mostly the same; some kind of pig stomach enzyme. I'd bet the eyedoc would say any of them would work just fine. )

(My cousin is an eye doctor, and he always loads me up with swag when I go for checkups. Seems like the distributors give him all kinds of stuff. The products he has are always just a little different from the ones in the store- different sized bottles, different packaging, etc. Maybe your eye doc can order some enzyme cleaner from his supplier in the packaging you prefer? Or even give you a prescription for something you can get through a pharmacy?)
posted by gjc at 6:55 AM on March 17, 2011

I've never used these once-weekly cleaners, which I think were created long after I started wearing RGPs and using Boston solution (nigh twenty years ago, now. Seriously, I started wearing RGPs in elementary school!).

So I'd chime in with those above and suggest that it may not be necessary. That said, there are major differences between the Boston products, in my experience. I switched to the Simplus solution, an all-in-one bottle, a few years ago -- and it worked until I found myself in a dusty climate, at which point my contacts became an exercise in torture. Now I use the Advanced Comfort solution and the Advanced Comfort cleaner (tiny bottle with red cap, to be used nightly), and I can wear my contacts comfortably again.

Anyway, just to reassure you: you can clean your contacts sufficiently without using the once-a-week treatment.
posted by artemisia at 8:55 AM on March 17, 2011

I love this stuff which is just one bottle. It is relatively hard to find. Shopko always has it, but Walgreens and my local grocery store never do.

At night I pop out the lenses and drop them in the cups and cover with a few drops of this. In the morning I rub them a bit and then rinse under running water and stick them in my eyes (I often insert with just plain water, or soft-lens type plain saline if I feel like it. I don't like using the thick solution for inserting - I don't like that it takes several minutes of fuzzy vision for the goopiness to wear off, and I don't think it's more comfortable at all.)

I have the little bottle of cloudy daily cleaner too, and I use it once in a while if a lens feels uncomfortable. But mostly I just store in the simplus solution overnight and rinse in water. I have never used any kind of enzyme tablets. I've worn RGPs off and on since about 1993, but I've only used the simplus for a year or so.
posted by fritley at 12:41 PM on March 17, 2011

I wore RGP lenses for 26 years and never did the enzymatic cleanser. Allergan/Alcon was my go-to brand before it was discontinued. I've found that the CVS store brand for RGP is pretty good. Your profile doesn't say where you live, but if you're in Texas, the HEB store brand is pretty great. I got a huge bottle of daily cleanser at Central Market a few years ago and it lasted for months.
posted by orrnyereg at 1:55 PM on March 17, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everybody! Your comments have been superbly helpful. I'm gonna try some of the alternatives recommended here.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:32 PM on March 18, 2011

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