Poorly fitting soft lenses affect ocular integrity

CLAO J. 2001 Apr;27(2):68-74.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether borderline fitting soft lenses have a greater effect on ocular physiology than well fitting lenses.

Method: The study was a retrospective analysis of data from seven soft lens clinical studies. The results of 63 eyes wearing borderline fitting lenses (31 tight and 32 loose fittings) were evaluated and compared with control eyes wearing optimally fitting lenses. Tight and loose lens fittings were defined as those showing tightness on push-up of > or =65% and < or =35%, respectively. An optimally fitting lens was defined as one showing tightness on push-up in the range 45-50% and decentration less than 0.7 mm. Slit lamp findings at the 1-month follow-up visit were compared.

Results: There was a significantly greater level of corneal staining among the tight lens wearing group than the controls (P=0.001); 68% of eyes wearing tight lenses showed staining as compared with 42% of eyes wearing well fitting lenses. There was also a greater level of conjunctival staining among tight lens wearing eyes but no significant difference in bulbar or limbal hyperemia. The loose lens wearing eyes showed a higher level of corneal staining: 69% vs 39% (P=0.04). In addition, the loose lens wearing eyes showed a higher level of bulbar (P=0.03) and limbal hyperemia (P=0.006). From supplementary analysis of 408 lens fittings, the incidence of corneal staining was found to increase with increasing tightness or looseness of fit.

Conclusion: The results show that corneal staining and other physiological effects of soft lens wear vary with the quality of lens fit suggesting that practitioners should be less tolerant of sub-optimal fitting soft lenses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Conjunctiva / physiology*
  • Contact Lenses, Hydrophilic*
  • Cornea / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Prosthesis Fitting*
  • Retrospective Studies