Purpose: To use scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to assess differences in corneal epithelium features between soft contact lens (CL) wearers and non-CL wear control.
Methods: In a cross-sectional survey, the corneal epithelium removed before photorefractive keratectomy in 10 soft CL wearers (10 eyes) and in 10 non-CL wearers (10 eyes) was evaluated with SEM. The aim of the study was to assess ultrastructural differences in corneal epithelium between the 2 groups.
Results: No statistically significant difference was present between the 2 groups as concerns the number of microvilli (P = 0.19). An amount of epithelial mucus >20% was detected in 20% of soft CL wearers and in 80% of non-CL wearers (P = 0.01). A good tolerance to CL was referred by CL wearers.
Conclusion: A significant reduction of epithelial mucus at SEM evaluation was present in the CL wearers even in absence of complaints referred to CL.