Hypochlorous: The missing link in eyelid hygiene?

With interest in a new hypochlorous acid spray with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities, Nick Atkins explains why it's ideal for dry eye

Sometimes something we think is new, under further appraisal, is found to be quite old. For example, many think of contact lenses as a late 20th century invention when, in fact, their history goes back over 130 years to the late 1880s when the first blown glass shells were used to demonstrate the protection and correction of vision when placed in contact with the eye. So, while this article is about Purifeyes, a newly-launched product containing what, for many, will be a new active ingredient in hypochlorous acid (HOCl), this antimicrobial was discovered and named almost 200 years ago (1834) by the French chemist Antoine Jérôme Balard.

The buzz surrounding hypochlorous acid (HOCl) has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years, partly driven by its verified power as a disinfectant effective against the SARS-Cov-2 virus behind the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, HOCl has a multitude of uses in clinical practice areas ranging from wound care, dermatology, dentistry to eye care. It is also used as a hand sanitiser, as described in a recent feature by the author discussing the correct use of soap.1

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