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Clin Ophthalmol. 2017 Apr 13;11:707-714. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S132851. eCollection 2017.

Reduction in bacterial load using hypochlorous acid hygiene solution on ocular skin.

Author information

NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Emeryville, CA.
Ophthalmic Research Consultants of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ.
Crystal Vision Services, Wilmington, NC.
Turner Eye Institute, San Leandro, CA.
James D. Branch Ophthalmology, Winston Salem, NC, USA.



To examine the magnitude of bacterial load reduction on the surface of the periocular skin 20 minutes after application of a saline hygiene solution containing 0.01% pure hypochlorous acid (HOCl).


Microbiological specimens were collected immediately prior to applying the hygiene solution and again 20 minutes later. Total microbial colonies were counted and each unique colony morphology was processed to identify the bacterial species and to determine the susceptibility profile to 15 selected antibiotics.


Specimens were analyzed from the skin samples of 71 eyes from 36 patients. Prior to treatment, 194 unique bacterial isolates belonging to 33 different species were recovered. Twenty minutes after treatment, 138 unique bacterial isolates belonging to 26 different species were identified. Staphylococci accounted for 61% of all strains recovered and Staphylococcus epidermidis strains comprised 60% of the staphylococcal strains. No substantial differences in the distribution of Gram-positive, Gram-negative, or anaerobic species were noted before and after treatment. The quantitative data demonstrated a >99% reduction in the staphylococcal load on the surface of the skin 20 minutes following application of the hygiene solution. The total S. epidermidis colony-forming units were reduced by 99.5%. The HOCl hygiene solution removed staphylococcal isolates that were resistant to multiple antibiotics equally well as those isolates that were susceptible to antibiotics.


The application of a saline hygiene solution preserved with pure HOCl acid reduced the bacterial load significantly without altering the diversity of bacterial species remaining on the skin under the lower eyelid.


Corynebacterium; Propionibacterium acnes; Staphylococcus aureus; Staphylococcus epidermidis; blepharitis; microbiome

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure David W Stroman, Keri Mintun, and Kathryn Najafi-Tagol are employees of NovaBay Pharmaceuticals. Arthur B Epstein and James D Branch are consultants for NovaBay Pharmaceuticals. Crystal M Brimer and Chirag R Patel have no conflicts to disclose in this work.

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