Contact Lens Discomfort May Be Decreased By Changing Brand Or Solution
May 1, 2013

Contact Lens Discomfort May Be Decreased By Changing Brand Or Solution

Lawrence LeBlond for - Your Universe Online

As Healthy Vision Month kicks off a new study has found that eye irritation or discomfort that comes from use of contact lenses may be easily fixed by simply changing to a different type of lens or lens care product. The study is published in the May issue of Optometry and Vision Science.

Daniel Tilia, BOptom, MOptom, of Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney, Australia, and his colleagues wrote in their research paper, “Ocular comfort and symptoms in symptomatic contact lens wearers can be perceptibly improved by switching to an alternative contact lens-lens care product combination.”

For their study, the researchers recruited two groups of contact lens wearers: 24 patients who had discomfort related to their contact lenses at least part of the day, and 13 patients without symptoms. The researchers randomly assigned the participants to use two different contact lens/lens care product combinations.

Patients used each combination for eight days, without knowledge of which combination they were using — researchers ranked the combinations as providing either best (combination one) or worst (combination two) performance in end-of-day comfort. After the end of each eight day period, the patients were asked to rate the contact lens comfort and other symptoms related to wearing each lens.

Patients who experienced contact-related symptoms rated combination one more comfortable than combination two. However, the overall difference in ocular comfort was not overly significant. Based on a 10-point rating scale, combination one scored 7.7 and combination two scored 7.1. Patients in the symptomatic group also rated the first combination superior in reducing dry eyes and awareness of contact lenses in the eye.

For patients who did not have any symptoms before the study, no significant difference was measured between both combinations.

Among the most common complaints patients have with their contact lenses is ocular discomfort. "Properties of the lenses, organic deposits on worn lenses, and even the properties of the solutions used to clean lenses, are often blamed for this," noted Anthony Adams, OD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Optometry and Vision Science.

In order to improve comfort for their patients, eye care professionals will often switch brands or type of lens care product, or often both. However, there is not much evidence showing if this approach truly works. "Clinicians and researchers are always trying to achieve comfort levels comparable to not wearing contact lenses," Dr Adams added.

The results of the study indicate that nearly half of the patients with contact lens-related symptoms have improved comfort when switching to a different lens or new solution. However, the researchers note that, even with the improvement, discomfort still increases at the end of the day. More research may be needed to find ways to eliminate this problem, they add.