Purpose: To analyze the effects of soft contact lenses on central corneal thickness and morphologic characteristics of the corneal endothelium in diabetic patients.
Materials and methods: Ultrasound pachymetry and noncontact specular microscopy were performed on 26 diabetic patients who regularly use soft contact lenses (group 1), 27 diabetic patients who do not use soft contact lenses (group 2) and 30 normal subjects (group 3). We compared the values in each group using the Mann-Whitney test.
Results: The central cornea was found to be thicker in diabetic patients, both those who use and do not use contact lenses, than in the normal control group. The central corneal thickness was significantly higher in group 1 (564.73 ± 35.41 μm) and group 2 (555.76 ± 45.96 μm) than in the control group (534.05 ± 27.02 μm), but there was no statistically significant difference between groups 1 and 2. Endothelial cell density was significantly different between the groups, and was smallest in the group of diabetic patients using contact lenses. The coefficient of variation of cell size was significantly higher and the percentage of hexagonal cells was significantly lower in contact lens using diabetic patients than in non-contact lens using diabetic patients and in the control group.
Conclusion: Central corneal thickness and endothelial cell density is more affected by diabetes mellitus, and corneal endothelial cell morphology is more affected by contact lens use, when compared with normal subjects.