Purpose: To investigate the efficacy of bandage contact lenses (BCLs) in comparison with that of ocular lubricants (OLs) in the initial management of recurrent corneal erosion syndrome.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial of 29 patients with recurrent corneal erosion syndrome presenting to the ophthalmology departments of the Oxford Eye Hospital and the Royal Berkshire Hospital, United Kingdom. The patients were randomized to wear either BCLs (for a 3-month duration, replaced every 30 days) or use OLs (4 times a day, with Lacri-Lube ointment at night for 3 months). The patients were assessed monthly for 4 months, and their symptoms were graded by visual analog scores. The main outcome measure was the complete resolution of symptoms with no noticeable corneal surface abnormality. Patients with a complete resolution were followed up for another 3 months to check for recurrence.
Results: Fourteen patients were randomized to the BCL arm, and 15 were randomized to the OL arm. After 3 months, a complete resolution was achieved in 71% of the patients (10/14) with BCLs compared with that achieved in 73% of the patients (11/15) on OLs (P > 0.05). Partial resolution was noted in 7% of the patients with BCLs versus 13% of the patients on OLs. Twenty-one percent of the patients in the BCL group and 13% of the patients in the OL group failed to respond to the treatment. Patients on BCLs had earlier resolution of symptoms, with a mean time of 5 weeks compared with 9 weeks for OLs (P = 0.02). None of the patients with BCLs developed adverse side effects.
Conclusions: BCLs do not increase the likelihood of complete resolution when compared with OLs in the initial management of RCES. However, BCL treatment seems safe, and some patients experience earlier relief from symptoms.