Objectives: Evaluating precorneal tear film is one of important clinical measurements for assessing health of anterior eye. Contact lens wear is known to influence the quality of tear film. The aim was to evaluate the applicability of lateral shearing interferometry technique in the noninvasive assessment of the effects of contact lens replacement modality and its water content on tear film stability.
Methods: Sixteen regular soft contact lens wearers took place in the study. Lateral shearing interferometry measurements, in suppressed blinking conditions, were taken in the mornings and afternoons, after a minimum of 5 hours of lens wear for the daily lenses, and after 2 weeks and 1 month for the fortnightly and monthly lens replacement modalities, respectively.
Results: Significant differences (paired bootstrap-based Behrens-Fisher test, P < 0.05) in the tear film surface quality were found between all considered pairs of replacement modalities except for the daily and fortnightly lenses measured in the afternoon of the first day of wear. Significant worsening (paired bootstrap-based Behrens-Fisher test, P < 0.001) of tear film quality was found for the low water content materials.
Conclusions: Lateral shearing interferometry is a powerful method for the noninvasive assessment of tear film surface quality on soft contact lenses that may find, in future, its use in the clinical assessment of anterior eye's health.