Scientists explore the potential of tree bark in preventing contact lens infection

Hydroquinine, an organic compound found in the bark of some trees, could be used as a disinfectant for contact lenses

Two trees with a large canopy stand in the forest. Sunlight shines through the leaves

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth in England and Naresuan and Pibulsongkram Rajabhat universities in Thailand are exploring the potential of a tree bark compound in preventing contact lens infections.

A new study, published in Antibiotics, has investigated the use of multipurpose formulas containing hydroquinine as a disinfectant for contact lenses. 

Hydroquinine is found in the bark of some trees. The compound is known to be effective in killing the bacteria that are present in many contact lens infections, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

The researchers found that multipurpose solutions containing hydroquinine eliminated 99.9% of bacteria present on contact lenses at the time of disinfection.

Dr Robert Baldock, of the University of Portsmouth, highlighted that commercially available contact lens solutions can sometimes prompt reactions with painful side effects.

“We hoped to demonstrate that new agents made from natural products may be an excellent option to limit or reduce the risk of contact lens contamination,” he said.

Sattaporn Weawsiangsang, of Naresuan University, shared that further testing would need to be conducted to determine if hydroquinine itself causes adverse reactions or toxicity.

“We are continuing to test the compound on a number of cells, and so far, the results are really promising. This potential development could contribute to the creation of new disinfectants from natural products, effectively combating Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections and reducing cases of corneal infections,” she said.