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Manlong Xu, Jacob G. Sivak, David J. McCanna; Comparison Of The Effect Of Dry Eye Drops And Eye Washes On The Viability Of Cultured Human Corneal Epithelial Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):1830.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To investigate in vitro toxicity of six marketed dry eye drops and three marketed eye washes on the viability of human corneal epithelial cells (HCEC).
HCEC monolayers were exposed to the dry eye drops and eye washes for 5min, 15min, 1hr, 4hr, and 24hr. Cell viability of the cultures after exposures was determined using the AlamarBlue assay. Phosphate buffered saline (PBS) was used as a negative control and benzalkonium chloride (BAK) 0.01%, BAK 0.005%, BAK 0.001% were used as positive controls.
Akwa Tears® Lubricant Eye Drops, Soothing Collyrium Eye Wash and Optrex® Eye Wash, which all contain BAK as a preservative, reduced cell viability to no more than 3% (compared to PBS) after 5-min exposure, which was significantly lower than all the other tested marketed products (p<0.05), and similar to BAK 0.01% and BAK 0.005%. The BAK-free solutions had varying time-dependent adverse effects on cell viability after 5-min, 15-min and 1-hour exposures. All products showed obvious cell toxicity after 4-hour and 24-hour exposures, resulting in cell viabilities less than 20% (0-17%) compared to PBS. Visine® Enduring MoistureTM Preservative-Free Eye Drops reduced cell viability significantly less than all the other products after 15-min, 1-hour, and 4-hour exposures (p<0.05).
BAK-preserved dry eye drops and eye washes significantly reduced the viability of cultured HCEC after a very short time exposure (5 min.). Our study suggests that BAK-free, especially preservative-free ophthalmic solutions are safer alternatives to BAK-preserved ones. The results also demonstrate the value of in vitro toxicity testing as a mean of reducing the need for live animal studies in risk assessment.
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