Purpose. The purpose of this analysis was to measure the proportion of soft contact lens wearers who wear lenses in challenging environments and to evaluate their resulting comfort in those conditions. A second objective was to determine whether refitting with silicone hydrogel lenses affects lens comfort among subjects who wear lenses in these environments.
Methods. Baseline data were collected from 496 hydrogel soft lens wearers on the frequency of use of contact lenses and the associated comfort in 12 challenging environments. Subjects were then refit into second generation silicone hydrogel lenses: senofilcon A (n = 228), galyfilcon A (n = 132), or lotrafilcon B (n = 136). Comfort responses were compared for subjects who “always” or “frequently” used lenses in the queried environments after 2 weeks of silicone hydrogel daily lens wear.
Results. More than 80% of subjects used habitual lenses “always” or “frequently” while reading, sitting in an air-conditioned or heated car, using a computer and while driving at night. Less than 40% used lenses “always” or “frequently” while riding in an airplane, at high altitudes, or while napping or sleeping. The least comfortable environments were in dusty, polluted or smoky environments (30% comfortable), and the most comfortable were while reading and using a computer. After 2 weeks use of senofilcon A and galyfilcon A lenses, comfort in all environments improved significantly (Wilcoxon signed rank) except for using a computer with galyfilcon A. After 2 weeks with lotrafilcon B lenses, there was improved comfort while using lenses in all environments except driving at night, using a computer and sitting in an air-conditioned or heated car (p < 0.04, Wilcoxon signed rank).
Conclusions. Daily wear contact lens wearers limit use of lenses during air travel or while napping. Use of daily wear silicone hydrogel lenses improved comfort significantly in most environments, allowing subjects to wear them in challenging environments.
Visioncare Research Ltd., Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom (GY, CH), Vistakon, Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida (CMR), and Clinical Trial Consultant, Atlanta, Georgia (RLC)
Received June 13, 2006; accepted October 11, 2006.