Ocular Surface Changes Induced by Contact Lens Wear


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Abstract

Purpose.To evaluate subclinical inflammation and mucus production of the conjunctiva in asymptomatic contact lens (CL) wearers, and to obtain an estimation of the chronologic variations in each group.Methods.Eighteen eyes fitted with rigid CL (RCL) and 28 eyes with soft CL (SCL) worn daily were compared with 10 eyes from five healthy non-CL wearers. Impression cytology (IC) specimens were collected after clinical examination and were analyzed by flow cytometry using antibodies directed to HLA DR and intercellular adhesion molecule type 1 (ICAM-1) (CD 54), as inflammatory markers, and to the peptidic core of the conjunctival mucin (M1/MUC5AC) for mucus and goblet cell detection. The percentage of positive cells was calculated, and levels of fluorescence expression were quantified and compared between each group.Results.A significant increase of HLA DR and ICAM-1 was observed in the SCL group in comparison with the control group. The two inflammatory markers were highly positively correlated with each other. Mucin detection with M1/MUC5AC did not find a significant difference between each group in terms of percentage of positive cells, but analyses of mean levels of fluorescence showed a significant decrease in the two CL groups. Evolution in time was different for each group, with a regular low level of inflammation in the RCL group in the first 10 years in comparison with the SCL group. In the SCL group, inflammation seemed to be higher before 2 years and after 10 years of wear. Mucin expression was variable in time, but without significant difference at any time.Conclusion.This study confirms difference in expression of subclinical conjunctival inflammation in asymptomatic CL wearers, with lower levels for RCL than SCL wearers with daily or extended wear. The mucin system is also modified by this low but chronic aggression of the ocular surface, with a tendency to decrease with time in the RCL and SCL groups.

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