In Vitro Evaluation of a Hypochlorous Acid Hygiene Solution on Established Biofilms

Eye Contact Lens. 2018 Nov;44 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):S187-S191. doi: 10.1097/ICL.0000000000000456.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a commercial formulation of hypochlorous acid hygiene solution (0.01%), Avenova, can destroy existing biofilms formed by ocular clinical bacterial isolates, including blepharitis isolates of Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci, and a keratitis isolate of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Methods: Biofilms grown in bacterial growth media on disposable contact lens cases were challenged with hypochlorous acid hygiene solution. At various time points, surviving bacteria were quantified by serial dilution and colony counts. Staphylococcus aureus biofilms formed on glass were challenged using a hypochlorous acid hygiene solution and imaged using vital staining and confocal laser scanning microscopy.

Results: Bactericidal activity (≥3 Log10; 99.9%) was observed for all tested bacterial species after a 30-min exposure. Staphylococcus aureus biofilms had a bactericidal level of killing by 10 min (P<0.01), Staphylococcus capitis by 5 min (P<0.001), Staphylococcus epidermidis by 30 min (P<0.001), and P. aeruginosa by 10 min (P<0.01). Confocal microscopy and crystal violet staining analysis of bacterial biofilms treated with hypochlorous acid solution both demonstrated that biofilm bacteria were readily killed, but biofilm structure was largely maintained.

Conclusions: Hypochlorous acid (0.01%) hygiene solution was able to achieve bactericidal levels of killing of bacteria in biofilms but did not disrupt biofilm structures. Susceptibility of tested staphylococcal blepharitis isolates varied by species, with S. capitis being the most susceptible and S. epidermidis being the least susceptible.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Blepharitis / microbiology
  • Contact Lenses / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Hypochlorous Acid / pharmacology*
  • Keratitis / microbiology
  • Oxidants / pharmacology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus capitis / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / drug effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Oxidants
  • Hypochlorous Acid