Research Article| Volume 33, SUPPLEMENT 1, S24-S32, December 2010

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Nonclinical safety evaluation of boric acid and a novel borate-buffered contact lens multi-purpose solution, Biotrue™ multi-purpose solution

Published:November 09, 2010DOI:


      Multipurpose solutions (MPS) often contain low concentrations of boric acid as a buffering agent. Limited published literature has suggested that boric acid and borate-buffered MPS may alter the corneal epithelium; an effect attributed to cytotoxicity induced by boric acid. However, this claim has not been substantiated. We investigated the effect of treating cells with relevant concentrations of boric acid using two cytotoxicity assays, and also assessed the impact of boric acid on corneal epithelial barrier function by measuring TEER and immunostaining for tight junction protein ZO-1 in human corneal epithelial cells. Boric acid was also assessed in an in vivo ocular model when administered for 28 days. Additionally, we evaluated Biotrue multi-purpose solution, a novel borate-buffered MPS, alone and with contact lenses for ocular compatibility in vitro and in vivo. Boric acid passed both cytotoxicity assays and did not alter ZO-1 distribution or corneal TEER. Furthermore, boric acid was well-tolerated on-eye following repeated administration in a rabbit model. Finally, Biotrue multi-purpose solution demonstrated good ocular biocompatibility both in vitro and in vivo. This MPS was not cytotoxic and was compatible with the eye when administered alone and when evaluated with contact lenses. We demonstrate that boric acid and a borate-buffered MPS is compatible with the ocular environment. Our findings provide evidence that ocular effects reported for some borate-buffered MPS may be incorrectly attributed to boric acid and are more likely a function of the unique combination of ingredients in the MPS formulation tested.


      MPS (multi-purpose solutions), ZO-1 (zonula occuldens protein-1), HCEpiC (human corneal epithelial cells), USP (United States Pharmacopeia), MEM (Eagle's Minimum Essential Medium), HDPE (high density polyethylene), TEER (transepithelial electrical resistance), NBF (neutral buffered formalin), PCA (perchloric acid), PBS (phosphate buffered saline), BBS (borate buffered saline), SC (0.9% sodium chloride USP solution), SO (sesame oil), PV (PureVision), AVA (Acuvue Advance), CAE (corneal anterior epithelium), CS (corneal stroma), CPE (corneal posterior epithelium), ISO (International Organization for Standardization)


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