Preservatives were a popular addition to ophthalmic products in the 1950s, as they helped prevent bacterial contamination. Decades later, reports came to light of their damaging effect on the cornea, the conjunctiva and the tear film.
Single dose units appeared to be the answer to avoiding irritation and inflammation. But the expense and environmental impact made them less than ideal.
In the nineties, Thea invented the first multi-dose bottle capable of dispensing preservative-free eye drops (ABAK® which is featured in the Hyabak®, Thealoz® and Thealoz Duo® products). This became the catalyst for a whole string of innovative packaging ideas, the latest of whch is Steri-Free® Technology which allows the delivery of preservative-free gels (Blephagel).
Now patients can enjoy a wide range of 100% preservative-free products from a world-leading manufacturer, caring for eyes while protecting vision.
What are preservatives?
Preservatives, or antimicrobial agents, are used to prevent and reduce bacterial contamination after a product has been opened. They come in a variety of different formulations, but benzalkonium chloride (often referred to as BAK) is most commonly used in ophthalmology.
Why are preservatives bad for eyes?
Studies show preservatives in eye care products can be harmful to the surface of the eye and, especially when used over a long period of time, can damage the tear film, superficial structures and deeper parts of the eye. Symptoms range from mild discomfort to severe dry eye syndrome.