Ultraviolet radiation for the sterilization of contact lenses

David Gritz, T. Y. Lee, P. J. McDonnell, K. Shih, N. Baron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Two sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation with peak wavelengths in the UV-C or UV-B ranges were compared for their ability to sterilize contact lenses infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Acanthamoeba castellani, Candida albicans, and Aspergillus niger. Also examined was the effect of prolonged UV light exposure on soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses. The UV-C lamp (253.7 nm, 250 mW/c2 at 1 cm) was germicidal for all organisms within 20 minutes but caused destruction of the soft lens polymers within 6 hours of cumulative exposure. UV-C caused damage to RGP lenses in less than 100 hours. The UV-B lamp (290-310 nm, 500 mW/cm2 at 1 cm) was germicidal for all organisms tested (except Aspergillus) with a 180-minute exposure and caused less severe changes in the soft lens polymers than did the UV-C lamp, although cumulative exposure of 300 hours did substantially weaken the soft lens material. RGP materials were minimally affected by exposure to 300 hours of UV-B. Ultraviolet light is an effective germicidal agent but is injurious to soft lens polymers; its possible utility in the sterilization of RGP lenses and lens cases deserves further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-298
Number of pages5
JournalCLAO Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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