Sterile Eye Wash - Keeping contents sterile

So I have this bottle of eye wash, 32 oz. I only need about 1/4 oz at a time (put in a sterile eye cup).

The top of the bottle twists off and there’s a hole. It looks like it might be designed as an emergency flush for someone who has acid eating away at his eyes.

I want to use it for the more tame use I listed above.

My question is about how to store the bottle so that I do not contaminate the opening of the bottle, or the contents of the bottle. After opening it, how can I seal the top? Do I open a fresh Ziploc bag and put that over the top? Do I put a shotglass upside-down over the opening? Do I use plastic wrap and tie it around the neck with a rubber band, in a fashion where the plastic wrap isn’t touching the top? Other suggestions?

Once you’ve opened it, it’s not sterile. i feel pretty safe with spray cans of sterile saline, but I’d never re-use an opened bottle of unpreserved saline.

Bausch & Lomb and Blairex both make sterile saline spray in 12 oz. cans. As you’re using 8 oz. at a time, you might want to buy 250mL single-use bottles.

Thanks for the reply, Nametag. I had been using this stuff:

But it’s about $5.85 around here (Rite Aid, Walgreen’s, Target). I just found this at Costco:

also 4 oz., looks like same stuff just a different brand, and $2 cheaper.

I don’t use 8 oz. at a time, I use about 1/4 oz. at a time. Just enough to fill the eye cup and wash out my eye.

I’m basically looking for the cheapest way to fill the eye cups 10-20 times a day.

Honestly, I just wouldn’t worry about it. Bacteria won’t grow in it – there’s EDTA as a pretty effective preservative, and there’s just nothing for them to eat. Sure, a few random things might make it in there, but unless you’re smearing the bottle in the dirt, it’ll be at the same rate that random bits of bacteria-laden dust get into your eye.

At most, I’d just wipe down the opening of the bottle with clean water and a clean cloth or paper town whenever it’s visibly soiled.

I’m not seeing where any major contamination would come it… you unscrew the top, squirt the saline in a cup, and screw it back on? Is the “nozzle” or inside of the cap ever in contact with something that’s dirty?

Absolute sterility is really only a concern when you’re in contact with lots of pathogens on a regular basis (e.g. in a hospital) or you’re severely immunocompromised.

Once the top twists off, there’s a 1/4" hole on the top of the bottle. There isn’t a “nozzle” through which the liquid pours - it’s more like the opening of a 2-liter bottle. The top which twists off doesn’t twist back on - that part is NOT like the 2-liter bottle. Once the top twists off, it snaps off completely, so there’s no more lid on it.

The bottle isn’t designed to be re-sealed.

I’ve wondered about the random bits of dust and whatnot that touch my eye while just sitting here typing this post. If I put plastic wrap over the top and snap it down with a rubber band, that should keep dust from getting in. And if I “bunch up” the plastic wrap on top of the bottle so it doesn’t touch the top of the bottle, that should keep any contact contamination out, right?

Ah. I see. Even though I’m dismissive about the germ phobia so common these days, I wouldn’t want to leave the bottle sitting open for very long…

Plastic wrap would do the job. You could also improvise a cap out of aluminum foil.

Probably a bad idea. Check this out: acanthamoeba

Ah. Somehow I read that as a quarter of the bottle. And you’re using a preserved solution, which is not what you said in your OP. Plastic wrap should be fine, as long as you don’t re-use it. Make sure your hands and all working surfaces are scrupulously clean.

Is this what the bottle looks like?

If so you just need to flip open the little cap, squeeze what you need into the cup, and replace the cap. No need to remove the whole top. Sure it won’t come out fast through the little hole, but a 1/4 oz isn’t very much and you won’t need to mess with plastic wrap, etc.

I’ve often wondered if the “guaranteed to be sterile before opening” notices on things like that and Band-Aids are part of a wide-scale Schrödinger experiment.

Nope - that’s the 4 oz. version that I had been using. But those run $5.83 each, and I was trying to save money.

I got a 32 oz version (fend all eyesaline eyewash solution, sterile, isotonic solution). It’s 32 oz and is $8.50, so my price per ounce is WAY less. However, the issue is keeping the contents sterile.

The entire top is removed when it twists off, and it leaves a 1/4 inch hole.

Working in ophthalmology (IANAD/N), I would say - don’t risk it. Eye infections are a bitch. My husband picked one up from visiting his mother in the hospital and it went from a little bloodshot in the evening to running all night and extremely red in the morning. A little bit of corneal damage had already started, but it cleared up just fine with treatment.