Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the standard Tobin Saline Eyewash Solution and the Tobin Borate Buffer Eyewash Solution? The normal, response to this questions is long silence followed by “….argh no, but now you mention it, you may as well tell me.”
So, for the curious amongst you, here goes. Tobin’s standard Saline Eyewash solution is exactly what it says on the box, simply saline. This sterile solution is great for flushing eyes to remove dust, foreign objects and to dilute and remove a wide range of chemicals.
Tobin’s Borate Buffer Solution contains saline but also a small amount of boric acid which has two very useful properties when used in an eyewash.
The first is that boric acid has the property of being a pH stabiliser. That means that when combined with a strong acid, with low pH, or a strong base, with high pH, the boric acid brings the overall pH back to a narrow range. This is especially useful is you need to wash our chemical splashes to the eyes and want to neutralise the pH as quickly as possible.
The second benefit is that boric acid has antiseptic properties and will kill bacteria that could cause an eye infection after an accident.
While Tobin’s Standard Saline Eyewash is perfectly adequate for flushing chemical splashes from the eyes, the Buffer Solution will more rapidly adjust the pH to a safe range while at the same time flushing the chemicals away from the eye.
It is for this reason that we recommend the Buffered Solution in areas where the risk is from strong acids such as around battery charging stations, or strong bases such as sodium hydroxide.