We all know the importance of sanitizing frames after patients try them on, but which solutions kill germs without harming frames? Hilco Vision’s Research and Development Team set out to answer those questions for you. At COLTS Laboratories, an independent third-party testing provider for the ophthalmic industry, Hilco tested five common cleaning agents for their impact on 11 frame materials and 16 secondary materials such as nosepads, decorative materials and demo lenses. They released the results in their “Frame Materials & Solutions – A Compatibility Study” in January, as reported in Vision Monday. Here’s a summary of the findings, and you can find more details on the Hilco website.

The cleaning solutions tested were 70 percent isopropyl alcohol (IPA), 25 percent hydrogen peroxide, thymol (a component of thyme oil found in cleaning products including Seventh Generation and Benefect), hypochlorous acid (HOCL, a weak acid formed when chlorine dissolves in water and found in products including Simple Green and Shield) and citric acid (found in products such as Lysol and Mr. Clean). Frames were exposed to the cleaning solutions in a series of short and long-term exposures for a cumulative total of 30 hours. IPA damaged some frame materials in as little as 10 minutes. Metal frames and metal components of frames fared particularly poorly with IPA and peroxide. When you consider constant frame cleaning over the course of days or weeks, chemical exposure time adds up. Only one cleaner showed no negative impact on any materials tested: citric acid.

Before you stock up on citric acid products however, you should consider another frame disinfection option: UVC. Cells like viruses absorb UVC into their DNA and RNA, making them unable to replicate. And cells that cannot replicate cannot infect. But you can’t use just any type of UV disinfecting tool. In fact, it may be even more dangerous if disinfection is incomplete, but you don’t know it. Devices such as ZEISS UVClean and Sios FusionUV are specifically designed for our industry’s frame disinfection needs. They can thoroughly disinfect multiple frames faster than cleaning by hand without damage to delicate materials.  

Whichever disinfection method you choose, of course, the most important part is to do it after every patient. You can learn more about frame hygiene with our CE, “Eyeglass Disinfection – Safe, Effective and Fast” at 2020mag.com.

Linda Conlin
Pro to Pro Managing Editor
[email protected]