Ocular surface changes with short-term contact lens wear

Tyagi, Garima (2011) Ocular surface changes with short-term contact lens wear. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Contact lenses are a common method for the correction of refractive errors of the eye. While there have been significant advancements in contact lens designs and materials over the past few decades, the lenses still represent a foreign object in the ocular environment and may lead to physiological as well as mechanical effects on the eye. When contact lenses are placed in the eye, the ocular anatomical structures behind and in front of the lenses are directly affected. This thesis presents a series of experiments that investigate the mechanical and physiological effects of the short-term use of contact lenses on anterior and posterior corneal topography, corneal thickness, the eyelids, tarsal conjunctiva and tear film surface quality. The experimental paradigm used in these studies was a repeated measures, cross-over study design where subjects wore various types of contact lenses on different days and the lenses were varied in one or more key parameters (e.g. material or design). Both, old and newer lens materials were investigated, soft and rigid lenses were used, high and low oxygen permeability materials were tested, toric and spherical lens designs were examined, high and low powers and small and large diameter lenses were used in the studies. To establish the natural variability in the ocular measurements used in the studies, each experiment also contained at least one “baseline” day where an identical measurement protocol was followed, with no contact lenses worn. In this way, changes associated with contact lens wear were considered in relation to those changes that occurred naturally during the 8 hour period of the experiment. In the first study, the regional distribution and magnitude of change in corneal thickness and topography was investigated in the anterior and posterior cornea after short-term use of soft contact lenses in 12 young adults using the Pentacam. Four different types of contact lenses (Silicone hydrogel/ Spherical/–3D, Silicone Hydrogel/Spherical/–7D, Silicone Hydrogel/Toric/–3D and HEMA/Toric/–3D) of different materials, designs and powers were worn for 8 hours each, on 4 different days. The natural diurnal changes in corneal thickness and curvature were measured on two separate days before any contact lens wear. Significant diurnal changes in corneal thickness and curvature within the duration of the study were observed and these were taken into consideration for calculating the contact lens induced corneal changes. Corneal thickness changed significantly with lens wear and the greatest corneal swelling was seen with the hydrogel (HEMA) toric lens with a noticeable regional swelling of the cornea beneath the stabilization zones, the thickest regions of the lenses. The anterior corneal surface generally showed a slight flattening with lens wear. All contact lenses resulted in central posterior corneal steepening, which correlated with the relative degree of corneal swelling. The corneal swelling induced by the silicone hydrogel contact lenses was typically less than the natural diurnal thinning of the cornea over this same period (i.e. net thinning). This highlights why it is important to consider the natural diurnal variations in corneal thickness observed from morning to afternoon to accurately interpret contact lens induced corneal swelling. In the second experiment, the relative influence of lenses of different rigidity (polymethyl methacrylate – PMMA, rigid gas permeable – RGP and silicone hydrogel – SiHy) and diameters (9.5, 10.5 and 14.0) on corneal thickness, topography, refractive power and wavefront error were investigated. Four different types of contact lenses (PMMA/9.5, RGP/9.5, RGP/10.5, SiHy/14.0), were worn by 14 young healthy adults for a period of 8 hours on 4 different days. There was a clear association between fluorescein fitting pattern characteristics (i.e. regions of minimum clearance in the fluorescein pattern) and the resulting corneal shape changes. PMMA lenses resulted in significant corneal swelling (more in the centre than periphery) along with anterior corneal steepening and posterior flattening. RGP lenses, on the other hand, caused less corneal swelling (more in the periphery than centre) along with opposite effects on corneal curvature, anterior corneal flattening and posterior steepening. RGP lenses also resulted in a clinically and statistically significant decrease in corneal refractive power (ranging from 0.99 to 0.01 D), large enough to affect vision and require adjustment in the lens power. Wavefront analysis also showed a significant increase in higher order aberrations after PMMA lens wear, which may partly explain previous reports of "spectacle blur" following PMMA lens wear. We further explored corneal curvature, thickness and refractive changes with back surface toric and spherical RGP lenses in a group of 6 subjects with toric corneas. The lenses were worn for 8 hours and measurements were taken before and after lens wear, as in previous experiments. Both lens types caused anterior corneal flattening and a decrease in corneal refractive power but the changes were greater with the spherical lens. The spherical lens also caused a significant decrease in WTR astigmatism (WRT astigmatism defined as major axis within 30 degrees of horizontal). Both the lenses caused slight posterior corneal steepening and corneal swelling, with a greater effect in the periphery compared to the central cornea. Eyelid position, lid-wiper and tarsal conjunctival staining were also measured in Experiment 2 after short-term use of the rigid and SiHy contact lenses. Digital photos of the external eyes were captured for lid position analysis. The lid-wiper region of the marginal conjunctiva was stained using fluorescein and lissamine green dyes and digital photos were graded by an independent masked observer. A grading scale was developed in order to describe the tarsal conjunctival staining. A significant decrease in the palpebral aperture height (blepharoptosis) was found after wearing of PMMA/9.5 and RGP/10.5 lenses. All three rigid contact lenses caused a significant increase in lid-wiper and tarsal staining after 8 hours of lens wear. There was also a significant diurnal increase in tarsal staining, even without contact lens wear. These findings highlight the need for better contact lens edge design to minimise the interactions between the lid and contact lens edge during blinking and more lubricious contact lens surfaces to reduce ocular surface micro-trauma due to friction and for. Tear film surface quality (TFSQ) was measured using a high-speed videokeratoscopy technique in Experiment 2. TFSQ was worse with all the lenses compared to baseline (PMMA/9.5, RGP/9.5, RGP/10.5, and SiHy/14) in the afternoon (after 8 hours) during normal and suppressed blinking conditions. The reduction in TFSQ was similar with all the contact lenses used, irrespective of their material and diameter. An unusual pattern of change in TFSQ in suppressed blinking conditions was also found. The TFSQ with contact lens was found to decrease until a certain time after which it improved to a value even better than the bare eye. This is likely to be due to the tear film drying completely over the surface of the contact lenses. The findings of this study also show that there is still a scope for improvement in contact lens materials in terms of better wettability and hydrophilicity in order to improve TFSQ and patient comfort. These experiments showed that a variety of changes can occur in the anterior eye as a result of the short-term use of a range of commonly used contact lens types. The greatest corneal changes occurred with lenses manufactured from older HEMA and PMMA lens materials, whereas modern SiHy and rigid gas permeable materials caused more subtle changes in corneal shape and thickness. All lenses caused signs of micro-trauma to the eyelid wiper and palpebral conjunctiva, although rigid lenses appeared to cause more significant changes. Tear film surface quality was also significantly reduced with all types of contact lenses. These short-term changes in the anterior eye are potential markers for further long term changes and the relative differences between lens types that we have identified provide an indication of areas of contact lens design and manufacture that warrant further development.

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ID Code: 49758
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Collins, Michael, Davis, Brett, & Read, Scott
Keywords: contact lens, cornea, corneal topography, corneal thickness, corneal swelling, Pentacam, Medmont, videokeratoscope, eyelids, blepharoptosis, lid-wiper epitheliopathy, tarsal conjunctiva, tear film, tear film surface quality, non-invasive, high-speed videokeratoscopy
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 18 Apr 2012 02:34
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:46

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