The long-term effects of polymethylmethacrylate contact lens wear on the corneal endothelium

Ophthalmology. 1994 Feb;101(2):365-70. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(94)31327-3.


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine the long-term effects of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) contact lens wear on the corneal endothelium. The authors had noted previously advanced polymegethism and decreased cell densities in a few long-term PMMA contact lens wearers. They evaluated a large group of such lens wearers to determine the prevalence of polymegethism and reduced endothelial cell density within this lens-wearing population.

Methods: The authors examined the morphologic characteristics of the corneal endothelium in 162 PMMA contact lens wearers or age-matched controls. Eighty-one subjects had worn contact lenses for more than 20 years.

Results: Patients showed advanced polymegethism and pleomorphism compared with controls. Mean cell density in the contact lens-wearing group was not different from controls, but a significantly greater percentage of contact lens wearers (11%, 9 of 81 patients) had cell densities less than 2000 cells/mm2 compared with controls (2.5%, 2 of 81 patients), and were also significantly more likely to have severe polymegethism (coefficient of variation, > 0.60) and severe pleomorphism (frequency of hexagons < 40%).

Conclusion: This study is unique, in that it notes a subgroup of PMMA contact lens wearers who are more susceptible to significant morphometric changes and reduced endothelial cell densities with long-term contact lens use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Count
  • Contact Lenses / adverse effects*
  • Corneal Diseases / etiology
  • Corneal Diseases / pathology
  • Endothelium, Corneal / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Methylmethacrylate
  • Methylmethacrylates
  • Microscopy
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence


  • Methylmethacrylates
  • Methylmethacrylate