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Lipid Deposition on Hydrogel Contact Lenses: How History Can Help Us Today


Optometry and Vision Science: April 2007 - Volume 84 - Issue 4 - p 286-295
doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3180485d4b

The tear film is a complex fluid that is precisely maintained and which is essential to the health of the ocular surface. One of the major components of the tear film is lipid, which is produced by the meibomian glands and serves many important functions on the ocular surface. It is estimated that there are more than 45 individual lipids within the tear film, which vary greatly in their structure and properties. The composition of the lipid within the tear film has an enormous influence on the stability of the tear film, with a subsequent impact on the occurrence of dry eye and the ultimate success of contact lens wear. The purpose of this review article is to describe the composition of the tear film lipids and their interaction with contact lens materials, with a particular emphasis on how the chemistry of novel silicone hydrogel materials has resulted in clinicians needing to understand the deposition of lipids onto contact lenses and how they may best manage this complication.

Centre for Contact Lens Research, School of Optometry, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Received April 27, 2006; accepted January 16, 2007.

© 2007 American Academy of Optometry