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Contact Lens Solution as safe way to clean scrapes?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I was camping and mountain biking this weekend. I had my minimalist first aid kit with me (minimalist by my standards, the fact that I had one put me ahead of 80% of the people there - and yes, I assemble my own first aid kits).

One of the guys scraped up his shin a bit during his ride. We weren't riding together so I didn't see it until we were around the campfire at night. By then it was dirty, had a fair amount of dried blood, but didn't look too bad. He said it was stinging a lot and bugging him so I offered to clean it up and give him a bandage that would protect it, help it heal and keep the blood off his sleeping bag.

Since were were camping, I didn't have access to clean running water and normal soap. I looked at what I had with me and decided that the lens cleaning solution I use for my contacts was basically sterile saline solution with a few other things thrown in for good measure (and to clean calcium deposits or whatever off my lenses overnight). It also squirts out nicely in a tight little stream that is good for cleaning off surface wounds and probably for irrigating deeper cuts. It worked quite well for cleaning up the scrape. I then cleaned it a bit more with antiseptic/analgesic towellete and put triple antibiotic ointment and a 4x4 over it and wrapped it in roller gauze for the evening. By the next morning it looked much, much better and he said the pain had stopped shortly after I bandaged him up. Happy patient.

Any opinions on whether this is a good/bad idea? Is there anything in lens solution that shouldn't be put on a wound? I'm thinking that a small travel sized bottle of solution would be a good thing to add to my first aid kits. I could use it as an eye wash, wound wash and even in a pinch with my contacts (or someone else's).

Here's a list of ingredients from the bottle: Boric Acid, Sodium Chloride, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (HPMC, as a lubricant), Poloxamer 407 (as a surficant), Disodium Edetate (as a chelating agent), Purified Water, Polyhexanide (.00015%)

From another: Hydroxyalkyl-Phosphonate, Poloxamine, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Boric Acid, Edetate Disodium, Sodium Borate, Sodium Chloride

Yet another: Ingredients: Citrate*, Tetronic 1304**, AMP-95** (Cleaning Benefits: gentle cleaners work together while lenses soak to remove daily protein deposits, dirt, and shield lenses against build up. Provides fresh, comfortable lens-wear every day.) Tetronic 1304*, Sodium Chloride, Boric Acid, Sorbitol, AMP-95*, and Edetate Disodium (Comfort Benefits: Unique comfort formula adjusts solution to more closely match your eye's natural tears. Provides lasting comfort for all day wear, even for sensitive eyes.)Polyquad®* (Polyquaternium-1)0.001% and Aldox® *(Myristamidopropyl Dimethylamine) 0.0005% (Disinfecting Benefits: Enhanced disinfection formula. Kills bacteria (germs) that can cause eye infections.) * These ingredients are found only in Alcon's lens care products. This patented formula is not sold under any other name. Do not change solutions without consulting your eye care professional. If you are allergic to any of the above ingredients, do not use this product. ** Tetronic and AMP-95 are registered trademarks of other companies

post #2 of 4
If it's safe enough to put in your eyes, should be safe enough to put in a wound, although sterile saline would be just as good. The benefit of irrigation is dilutional--so any sterile fluid that doesn't harm the wound would do well. The problem with having a reusable bottle is that it might get contaminated, which would not be good. I would not feel comfortable taking an opened bottle of someone else's fluid and washing out my eyes with it. Stick with sealed bottles of saline.
post #3 of 4
you can get non-eyecare sodium chloride solution much cheaper and it is the same thing. It is what we use at our mtb events.
post #4 of 4
The contact lens disinfectant would prabably have been even better. Most of them are made using opthamolic (sp) grade hydrogen peroxide.
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