Evaluation of Corneal Alterations After Short-Term Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lens Use by Confocal Microscopy

Turk J Ophthalmol. 2022 Dec 28;52(6):386-393. doi: 10.4274/tjo.galenos.2021.27163.


Objectives: To evaluate the corneal subbasal nerve morphology, corneal sensitivity, and anterior segment alterations in short-term silicone hydrogel contact lens (SiHCL) users by confocal microscopy.

Materials and methods: The study included 25 right eyes of 25 male volunteers aged 25-30 years who had never used SiHCLs before. ocular surface disease index (OSDI), tear break-up time, Schirmer test, tear meniscus area, strip meniscometry tube, corneal sensitivity, and corneal subbasal nerve morphology were evaluated before and after 1 month of CL use.

Results: OSDI was 10.6±1.1 before CL use and 17.2±1.2 after 1 month of CL use (p<0.01). Schirmer test distance was 16.3±2.3 mm before and 14.3±1.9 mm after 1 month of CL use (p>0.05). Tear film break-up time was 7.1±0.4 s before and 6.2±0.3 s after CL use (p>0.05). The tear meniscus area was 0.026±0.002 mm2 before and 0.024±0.001 mm2 after 1 month of CL use (p>0.05). Strip meniscometry tube results were 5.4±0.9 mm before and 4.9±0.8 mm after 1 month of CL use (p>0.05). Corneal sensitivity values were 3.2±0.4 mm before and 2.95±0.3 mm after 1 month of CL use (p>0.05). Dendritic cell density evaluated by confocal microscopy was 14.84±3.1 cells/mm2 before and 32.57±4.2 cells/mm2 after 1 month of CL use (p<0.01). Subbasal nerve tortuosity was 0.92±0.2 before and 1.03±0.2 after 1 month of CL use (p>0.05). Subbasal nerve density was measured as 4726±310 pixels/frame before and 4570±272 pixels/frame after 1 month of CL use (p>0.05).

Conclusion: After a month of SiHCL use, no significant changes were observed in tear secretion, corneal sensitivity, tear meniscus volume, subbasal corneal nerve density, reflectivity, or tortuosity, while a significant increase was found in OSDI and dendritic cell density.

Keywords: Confocal microscope; contact lens; corneal sensitivity; ocular surface disease index; subbasal cell density.

MeSH terms

  • Contact Lenses*
  • Cornea
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Silicones*


  • Silicones
  • Hydrogels