To rub or not to rub?
October 14, 2012 8:15 PM   Subscribe

What makes contact solution "no rub"?

I have 2 bottles of "multi-purpose solution" for contact lenses. The Equate (Walmart brand) solution instructs you to rub the lenses. The Up & Up (Target brand) solution is marked as "no rub". These seem to be identical products from the same manufacturer - same bottle, same content listing, same US patent number, similar-looking lot number. What gives? Does "no rub" mean anything? Can I always skip rubbing with any multi-purpose solution / is it better to rub even if it says "no rub"?
posted by domnit to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
"no rub" means that there was no addtional tangible benefit or additional decrease in proteins/gunk on your contact lenses from rubbing them with the solution vs. not rubbing them and just putting them straight into your contact lens case. (at least that is what I was told)

It wasn't that there was an special feature that made it "no rub." it's that someone realized that rubbing didn't make a measurable difference, so you might as well not bother.
posted by deanc at 8:22 PM on October 14, 2012

I had an optometrist a few years who said that the "no-rub" formula was the same stuff that they always marketed, but they figured that if the instructions said to rinse for x number of seconds instead of putting on a few drops and rubbing, you'd use a lot more of the solution and buy it more often. He said to save my money and rub like I always had and the bottle would last me ten times as long. So that's what I do.
posted by Fuego at 8:32 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

"No rub" solutions contain one or more ingredients which are intended to break down (enzymes, probably) or dissolve protein stuck to the lens. Wired addresses the ingredients of B&L ReNu here. The effectiveness of no-rub contact solutions have not been supported by independent investigation.

As far as rub vs. no-rub, it sounds like rub is the way to go.
posted by pullayup at 8:38 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

What is this "rub" nonsense? Go with this stuff. Best solution I've ever used, and definitely no rubbing required.
posted by Go Banana at 8:54 PM on October 14, 2012 [9 favorites]

+1 for Go Banana's recommendation. Clear Care is the shizz. I ran out for a couple of months and used "regular" solution, and definitely felt a difference (for the worse). Plus I feel like a cool tinkery mad scientist when I use it.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 9:09 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I third Go Banana and miss_kitty_fantastico. I used to use the usual rub/no rub/whatever contact solution business until I got a really nasty eye infection. My optometrist recommended using a solution with hydrogen peroxide, which said said is a much more effective cleaner than the enzyme based ones (?) I had been using. The rub (haha :-)) is that you have to leave the contacts in the special solution for at least six hours, until it neutralizes, or else you have burning eyes when you put them back in. It's not a problem, though, because you can see when it's done neutralizing: all the bubbles are gone. Seriously, my eyes have never felt better. Last time I went to the eye doctor, I had worn my contacts for a week and a half longer than I was supposed to, and she took a look at them and said that there was little to no build-up on them. Obviously IANAD, IANYD, IANYED, but something to consider.
posted by UniversityNomad at 9:10 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

In case my post above wasn't explicit enough, I'm recommending Clear Care, which is the one with hydrogen peroxide. My eyes have definitely felt the difference.
posted by UniversityNomad at 9:11 PM on October 14, 2012

Oh, and if you have to take the lenses out of the Clear Care solution before the 6hrs are up, just rub/rinse the lenses really well with normal solution, and it'll be ok. It won't have cleaned as well, presumably, but they won't burn your eyes either.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 9:13 PM on October 14, 2012

Hopefully not too much of a derail, but how do you see Clear Care comparing to B&L no rub (for example) in terms of cost?
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:50 PM on October 14, 2012

2nding Clear Care, its made a big difference in my contact-wearing comfort. Clear Care is probably a little cheaper, if you use the B&L as reccomended, with the extra rinsing. The packagei buy comes with two large bottles, and lasts me several months. You fill the CC case to a fill line, so you use the same amount each time (I don't bother with the extra rinsing CC reccomends, I don't think it is necessary.) CC definitely makes my contacts feel better than conventional solutions. Wal-mart also makes a version of peroxide cleaner that is cheaper, but their case design sucks. (The case with the neutralizing disk is the important part of peroxide solutions.) I bought a bunch of Clear Care cases on eBay very cheaply when I tried the Wal-mart brand and couldn't stand their flimsy case.
posted by catatethebird at 10:04 PM on October 14, 2012

I don't do extra rinsing with either the B&L or the CC, so the CC ends up being a bit more expensive for me -- it's a couple dollars more expensive to begin with, and I run out maybe a week faster than the B&L bottle. One large bottle of CC lasts me a little over a month. However, I get 1-2 wks extra wear out of my contacts with CC, so in my mind it works out the same. Even if it costs a little more, the extra comfort is worth it to me, and I'm generally a cheapskate for stuff like this.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 10:16 PM on October 14, 2012

for clear care, if you have a costco membership, you get 2 16oz bottles, two cases, and a 3oz travel bottle for around $17 (in the bay area, at least, last time i bought it about a month ago.). this lasts me about 2 months of daily cleaning, and i have a stockpile of the 3oz bottles now in case i forget to go get more or something.

you can compare this to your b&l purchase - last time i bought a backup bottle of the biotrue, i think the small bottle ran me $7 at target. the clear care works WAY better for cleaning - i only use the biotrue if a contact falls out of my eye (which they do as i rub my eyes sometimes) and i need the on the spot cleaning.
posted by koroshiya at 11:53 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I first started using contacts, I was told to soak them in plain old 3% hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes before rinsing them with saline and leaving them to rest in more saline overnight. This wouldn't remove protein deposits, though: once a week, the special protein removal tablets had to be mixed with the saline. Damn tablets took ages to dissolve, even with shaking.

When the no rub solutions came out, I thought this was an immense improvement, but I found that my eyes didn't tolerate wearing the contacts as long, and I got a couple of infections. I've been wearing my contacts less often because of this.

If Clear Care can sanitize like the old peroxide routine, neutralize on its own, and also take care of protein deposits, then yeah, this sounds like the product to try.
posted by maudlin at 12:24 AM on October 15, 2012

I'd have a chat with your optometrist before starting Clear Care. I've got super sensitive eyes, and I'm a hard fit for contacts. Hence I'm a guinea pig for all of the newest lenses, solutions, etc., because my doctor knows if something works for me, the odds are really good it will work for a large number of her patients.

In our second last go-round of experiments (new lenses and new solutions) she switched me to Clear Care. My system couldn't take it. Just having my lenses in a few minutes left my eyes red. I followed the instructions diligently and I made sure the lenses were in over six hours. I also tried using it with the pure saline rinse (as per her recommendation) just to be doubly sure the lenses were clean and neutralized.

When I went back to her with symptoms, she wasn't surprised. It seems even after neutralization, some people can be irritated by the solution.

So she switched me off that and now I'm testing Bio True and I think it's working out for me. I'm still not entirely happy, but I think that has more to do with the lens fit than the solution, whereas before it was definitely the solution, as I had tried it with more two or three different brands of lenses.
posted by sardonyx at 1:47 PM on October 15, 2012

Oddly, one published study suggests that an Alcon Opti-Free system led to smaller amounts of lipid deposits on lenses than did Clear Care. But another says that Clear Care led to longer comfortable wearing times.

This study says that rub and rinse removes more bacteria, but that when doing "rinse-only," solutions with polyquad performed better than those with polyhexamethylene biguanide.

There's probably more to be gleaned from browsing related articles on PubMed.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:03 PM on October 16, 2012

Here's another study that says rubbing is important to get rid of bacteria. A different study says that rubbing doesn't make much of a difference with regard to protein removal, though, so presumably you wouldn't notice a difference in feel.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:09 PM on October 16, 2012

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