Are Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses More Comfortable Than Hydrogel Contact Lenses?

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The current literature review was intended to investigate whether the use of silicone hydrogel contact lenses has resulted in improved comfort compared with that of hydrogel contact lenses when both are used for daily wear. The conclusion reached is that silicone hydrogel contact lenses, which were initially developed to eliminate hypoxia during overnight wear, have not significantly improved comfort compared with the comfort achieved with hydrogel contact lenses when worn on a daily wear basis, even though a body of the published literature would suggest to the contrary. A careful review and consideration of the literature demonstrates that the relative comfort achieved with the two types of contact lenses is in fact highly dependent on the study methodology: Although refitting studies have concluded enhanced comfort with silicone hydrogels, the more robust study designs involving concurrent controls and masking were not able to show a difference, and some even concluded an inferior performance. Evidence-based review has however clearly demonstrated that comfort cannot be considered in isolation but is contact lens specific and depends on the material surface and bulk properties, lens design characteristics, and modality of use of the contact lens, and may also be significantly influenced by the replacement frequency and interaction with any lens care system that may be used.

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