Short-Term Contact Lens Wear Affects Biomarkers of Corneal Tissue Integrity

Short-term contact lens wear results in changes to various biomarkers of tissue integrity.

Biomarkers of corneal tissue integrity, which include homogeneity and transparency, are affected by short-term soft contact lens (CL) wear, according to research published in Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics.

Researchers enrolled 22 participants (17 women; mean age, 23.7 years) in the study and randomly assigned them to treatment with a silicone hydrogel or hydrogel soft CL for an 8-hour period. The team obtained Scheimpflug images before and after lens wear and used densitometry distribution analysis to estimate corneal transparency and homogeneity and central corneal thickness (CCT). After a period of 7 to 10 days, participants crossed over to treatment with the other soft CL material and measurements were repeated. 

Corneal homogeneity increased by 5% after wearing both CL materials (P <.001) and transparency increased in half of the participants. No significant association was observed between lens material and transparency. Significant, but clinically irrelevant changes in CCT were noted. Patients wearing silicone hydrogel lenses experienced CCT thinning after 8 hours of lens wear (P =.02), while individuals wearing hydrogel CLs experienced CCT thickening following 8 hours of wear (P =.03).

The researchers state that CL wear is likely to result in corneal tissue changes irrespective of material. “There was no predominance of one material over the other to cause more substantial corneal tissue alterations. While the cornea of some participants was more affected by the hydrogel material, others were more affected by the silicone hydrogel lens,” the study authors note. “From the sample of 22 participants, only one did not have any corneal tissue alterations for either of the two CLs worn.”

There was no predominance of one material over the other to cause more substantial corneal tissue alterations.

Study limitations include a small sample size and the use of treatment in only 1 eye to avoid correlation with the contralateral eye.


Consejo A, Trillo-Moreno I, Remon L. Corneal tissue changes following short-term soft contact lens wear of different materials. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. Published online November 21, 2022. doi:10.1111/opo.13067