Incidence of Corneal Adverse Events in Children Wearing Soft Contact Lenses

Eye Contact Lens. 2023 May 1;49(5):204-211. doi: 10.1097/ICL.0000000000000976. Epub 2023 Mar 6.


Objectives: There is increasing interest in fitting children with soft contact lenses, in part due to the increase in prescribing of designs to slow the progression of myopia. This literature review summarizes large prospective and retrospective studies that include data on the incidence of microbial keratitis and corneal infiltrative events (CIEs) in children wearing soft contact lenses.

Methods: Peer-reviewed prospective and retrospective studies that report contact lens-related complications in children with at least one year of wear and at least 100 patient years of wear were identified.

Results: Seven prospective studies published between 2004 and 2022 were identified representing 3,752 patient years of wear in 1,756 children, nearly all of whom were fitted at age 12 years or younger. Collectively, they report one case of microbial keratitis and 53 CIEs, of which 16 were classified as symptomatic. The overall incidence of microbial keratitis was 2.7 per 10,000 patient years (95% CI: 0.5-15), and the incidence of symptomatic CIEs was 42 per 10,000 patient years (95% CI: 26-69). Two retrospective studies were identified representing 2,545 patient years of wear in 1,025 children, fitted at age 12 years or younger. One study reports two cases of microbial keratitis giving an incidence of 9.4 per 10,000 patient years (95% CI: 0.5-15).

Conclusions: Accurate classification of CIEs is challenging, particularly in retrospective studies. The incidence of microbial keratitis in children wearing soft lenses is no higher than in adults, and the incidence of CIEs seems to be markedly lower.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Contact Lenses, Hydrophilic* / adverse effects
  • Corneal Diseases* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Keratitis* / epidemiology
  • Keratitis* / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies