A study found higher tear cytokine concentration and conjunctival cell metaplasia in reusable soft contact lens wearers as compared with daily disposable lens wearers, indicating higher ocular inflammatory responses.
The study enrolled 36 habitual contact lens wearers, including 14 daily disposable and 24 reusable wearers. In all subjects, after at least 1 hour of contact lens wear, basal tears were collected from the temporal lower tear meniscus in both eyes and analyzed for tear cytokine concentration. Ocular surface staining was then performed with fluorescein and lissamine green.
Two conjunctival impression cytology samples were collected from the contact lens-uncovered and from the contact lens-covered regions. Goblet cell density and conjunctival metaplasia were evaluated.
A higher concentration of tear cytokines, more conjunctival staining and greater conjunctival cell metaplasia was found in reusable contact lens wearers. For all participants, goblet cell density and conjunctival metaplasia were higher in the region covered by contact lenses.
As the authors noted, these findings show that a higher inflammatory response may be activated by reusable lenses and partly explain potential symptoms of discomfort. The use of contact lens care solutions, particularly multipurpose solution as in this study, is likely to play a role, they said. Also, lens design and material may contribute, but the variety of lenses used in the study did not allow evaluation of these factors.
“Future prospective studies can be planned to quantify the potential effects of lens material, design and replacement schedule on the ocular surface,” the authors concluded. – by Michela Cimberle
Disclosure: The authors reported no relevant financial disclosures.