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D. M. Lehmann, M. E. Cavet, D. J. O'Mara, K. L. Harrington, M. E. Richardson; Ocular Biocompatibility of Boric Acid and a Borate-Buffered Multipurpose Solution. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):3408.
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Lens care multipurpose solutions (MPS) are used for disinfecting and storage of soft contact lenses. Boric acid is a component of the buffering system often used in these formulations. A limited number of published reports have suggested that boric acid and borate-buffered MPS may alter the corneal epithelium. However, this claim has not been substantiated and a thorough investigation of the ocular effects of boric acid and borate-buffered MPS is not currently available in the literature.
We investigated the effect of treating cells with boric acid using the agar diffusion and elution cytotoxicity assays, and also assessed the impact of boric acid on corneal epithelial barrier function. Boric acid was also evaluated in an in vivo ocular model when administered for 28 consecutive days. Additionally, we evaluated an investigational borate-buffered MPS alone and with soft contact lenses for ocular compatibility in vitro and in vivo and for producing an allergic sensitization reaction.
Boric acid passed two different in vitro cytotoxicity assays(n = 3/assay) . Boric acid did not alter the integrity of corneal epithelial tight junctions in vitro when tested at concentrations similar to in-use conditions (n = 3). Furthermore, boric acid was well-tolerated on eye following repeated administration in a rabbit model (n = 14). The borate-buffered MPS demonstrated good ocular biocompatibility both in vitro and in vivo using accepted methodologies. This MPS was not cytotoxic by two assays (n = 3/assay) and was compatible with the eye alone and when evaluated with contact lenses. Finally, the borate-buffered MPS did not produce any signs of sensitization.
We provide direct evidence that boric acid and a borate-buffered MPS are compatible with the ocular environment by several different measures. Our findings provide evidence that ocular effects reported for some borate-buffered MPS are incorrectly attributed to boric acid and are more likely a function of the specific MPS formulation tested.
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