Confocal microscopy of the bulbar conjunctiva in contact lens wear

Efron, Nathan, Al Dossari, Munira, & Pritchard, Nicola (2010) Confocal microscopy of the bulbar conjunctiva in contact lens wear. Cornea, 29(1), pp. 43-52.

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Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the capabilities of laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) for undertaking qualitative and quantitative investigations of the response of the bulbar conjunctiva to contact lens wear.

Methods: LSCM was used to observe and measure morphological characteristics of the bulbar conjunctiva of 11 asymptomatic soft contact lens wearers and 11 healthy volunteer subjects (controls).

Results: The appearance of the bulbar conjunctiva is consistent with known histology of this tissue based on light and electron microscopy. The thickness of the bulbar conjunctival epithelium of lens wearers (30.9 ± 1.1 μm) was less than that of controls (32.9 ± 1.1 μm) (P < 0.0001). Superficial and basal bulbar conjunctival epithelial cell densities in contact lens wearers were 91% and 79% higher, respectively, than that in controls (P < 0.0001). No difference was observed in goblet and Langerhans cell density between lens wearers and controls. Conjunctival microcysts were observed in greater numbers, and were larger in size, in lens wearers compared with controls.

Conclusions: The effects of contact lens wear on the human bulbar conjunctiva can be investigated effectively at a cellular level using LSCM. The observations in this study suggest that contact lens wear can induce changes in the bulbar conjunctiva such as epithelial thinning and accelerated formation and enlargement of microcysts, increased epithelial cell density, but has no impact on goblet or Langerhans cell density.

Impact and interest:

36 citations in Scopus
32 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 39381
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Conjunctiva, epithelium, laser scanning confocal microscopy, contact lenses, goblet cells, langerhans cells
DOI: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3181acf82a
ISSN: 0277-3740
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Deposited On: 05 Jan 2011 03:49
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:15

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