Corneal sensitivity is similar among individuals who wear silicone hydrogel contact lenses, patients who wear rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, and individuals who do not wear contact lenses, according to a study published in Eye & Contact Lens. However, corneal sensitivity may increase in men who wear either contact lens type, the report shows.
Researchers included 96 participants in the investigation and stratified them according to contact lens type. Individuals who wore silicone hydrogel lenses (n=33;average age, 27.42 years; women, 17), participants who wore RGP lenses (n=30; average age, 36.90 years; women, 21), and individuals who did not wear contact lenses (n=33; average age, 26.06 years; women, 23) underwent corneal sensitivity measurements using 2 different aesthesiometers at 2 visits conducted between 24 hours and 2 weeks apart. Study participants completed the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and Contact Lens Dry Eye Questionnaire-8 (CLDEQ-8) and underwent slit lamp assessment.
There were no statistically significant differences in corneal sensitivity between the 3 groups using either aesthesiometer (P =.302 and P =.266), according to the report. However, men who wore contact lenses demonstrated higher corneal sensitivity compared with women who wore contact lenses. One aesthesiometer revealed these statistically significant differences between the sexes in RPG wearers (P =.041) while both aesthesiometers revealed these differences among silicone hydrogel contact lens wearers (P =.041 and P =.006).
There was no correlation between corneal sensitivity and contact lens comfort or duration of wear, and only a weak correlation between comfort and duration of wear, according to the report.
“The findings of this current study with a new type of mechanical stimulation confirm most previously published studies on [silicone hydrogel contact lens] wear,” according to the investigators. “With regards to daily RGP [contact lens] wear, the findings are promising, as a reduction in corneal sensitivity could potentially lead to an increased
risk of infection, due to a delayed and / or reduced response from the superficial nerve endings.”
Study limitations include the potential for volunteer bias, recruitment from a single center, and an overrepresentation of individuals of White race.
Nosch DS, Käser E, Christen A, Schinzel J, Joos RE. Corneal sensitivity in silicone hydrogel and rigid gas permeable contact lens wear. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. Published online July 6, 2023. doi:10.1016/j.clae.2023.101888.