Short-Term Contact Lens Wear Affects Blinking Parameters

Optometrist helping patient with contacts in office
Optometrist helping patient with contacts in office
Changes in contact lens materials and designs may help mitigate the effect of blinking on the ocular surface.

Short-term contact lens wear affects blinking characteristics, with variations noted among different contact lens types, according to research published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye.

Researchers enrolled 10 participants (mean age 26.0±4.1 years, 8 women, 4 experienced contact lens wearers) in a study to examine the immediate effects of contact lens wear on spontaneous blink characteristics. They assessed all participants a total of 5 times during the investigation using each of the following contact lens modalities: spherical hydrogels, spherical silicone hydrogels, toric hydrogels, rigid corneal lenses, and no contact lenses. The team measured interblink interval (IBI), blink velocity, blink duration, and other characteristics using a high speed infrared imaging system.

The investigators noted that IBI was greater among patients not wearing contact lenses compared with those wearing silicone hydrogel, toric hydrogel, and rigid corneal lenses (P ≤.0001 for all). Total blink duration was also shorter when participants did not wear contact lenses compared with all other lens modalities (P ≤.01 for all).

Wearing spherical silicone hydrogel lenses resulted in greater closing-phase speeds compared with not wearing contact lenses (mean difference 27.4 (95% CI 5.6-49.1) mm/s, P =.006).

Palpebral aperture height was smaller during rigid lens wear, but this value did not achieve statistical significance compared with other lens types.

Contact lens type did not influence opening-phase speed or blink completeness.

“Considering the critical role of blinking during contact lens wear, changes to the blinking pattern may have a negative impact on the ocular/lens surface integrity,” according to the investigators.” They assert that “investigating the effect of different lens designs and materials could help in the development of contact lenses that minimize this impact on blinking and ocular surface.”

Study limitations include a small sample size, a lack of ethnic diversity among participants, and the use of 1 power per lens type.


Navascues-Cornago M, Sun T, Read ML, Morgan, PB. The short-term effect of contact lens wear on blink characteristics. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. Published online April 21, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.clae.2022.101596