Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Name Brand vs. Generic: Clear Care

Upon recommendations from friends and family, I switched my contact solution from a basic no rub overnight soak to Clear Care.  Clear Care has hydrogen peroxide in it, along with a special case that neutralizes the H2O2, so the lenses come out as clean as they can get.

I have seasonal allergies, and believe it or not, pollen sticks to contact lenses.  My eyes are much happier in the spring and fall with super clean contact lenses.

But man, is this stuff expensive!  Not only is it a couple dollars more than standard solution, but to fill the special container, I use more of it.  So when I saw the CVS version that saved me enough money to get a tall latte, I hoped it would work just as well.  I bought it several times, so I've used the CVS version just as much as the actual Clear Care.  Do I get to keep my latte money?

Ciba Vision Clear Care Cleaning & Disinfecting Solution


CVS No Rub Disinfecting Lens Care Solution

There's two big differences between the two.  The first is the case.  I think it's funny that they say they give you the case for free, because the case is required, or else the solution won't neutralize and you'll be sticking hydrogen peroxide in your eye.

The CVS case is definitely lower in quality.  The plastic isn't as thick as Clear Care's case.

The neutralizing disc is at the bottom of the vial of the CVS version, but on the insert that the contacts go in on the Clear Care version.  I'm not sure if that makes any difference.  I didn't really have a preference either way.

The top of the Clear Care case has a rectangular protrusion on top, probably to aid in unscrewing the lid.  The top of the CVS case is flat, and therefore easier to set down when needed.

The basket on the Clear Care case where the contacts go is held shut by the hinge that opens and closes it.  That makes it easier to open and get the contacts in and out.  The basket on the CVS case snaps in place at the closure, making it harder to secure.  It also makes it seem like there could be more damage to lenses if they are not placed correctly, although that's probably all in my head.

But, can I live with a cheaper case if the solution works just as well?  I thought so, which is why I continued to buy the CVS disinfecting solution.

The thing is, the solution does not work as well.  There were times that it felt like the hydrogen peroxide wasn't completely neutralized in the morning, so my eyes would burn before I put them in.  I ended up using just as much standard saline solution to rinse the contacts off before I put them in than I would have used before.

So, do I get my lattes?

The winner:

Ciba Vision Clear Care Cleaning & Disinfecting Solution
No.  In fact, it turns out I wasn't getting my lattes before.  I continued to buy saline solution to rinse off the contacts after soaking them in the CVS brand because it never felt completely neutralized.  I'm willing to sacrifice a cup of coffee here and there in exchange for non-burn-y-ness.
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