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Eye Sensitivity in Soft Contact Lens Wearers

Spyridon, Michael*; Hickson-Curran, Sheila; Hunt, Chris; Young, Graeme§

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3182775c78
Original Articles

Purpose: To estimate the prevalence of self-reported “sensitive eyes” (SEs) in soft contact lens (CL) wearers, evaluate the clinical characteristics of patients with SEs, and examine the effect of refitting them with silicone hydrogel lenses.

Methods: After self-assessment, 2154 CL wearers were separated into SE and non-SE patients. Demographics, biometric data, wearing time, symptoms, and signs were compared between the two populations. Sixty-three SE patients were randomized into senofilcon A (senA) lenses and 65 into a non–senA arm (lotrafilcon B, omafilcon A, and balafilcon A lenses). The performance of senA lenses was compared against habitual and non-senA lenses 2 weeks later.

Results: A total of 12.2% of CL wearers reported SEs with their habitual CLs. No significant differences were noticed between SE and non-SE patients in sex, age, or refraction. The prevalence of dryness (43 vs 19%, p < 0.0001), irritation (25 vs 11%, p < 0.0001), redness (20 vs 6%, p < 0.0001), and stinging (6 vs 1%, p < 0.0001) was higher in SE patients. Average wearing time (13.0 vs 14.1 hours, p < 0.0001) was lower in this group. Limbal/bulbar hyperemia and corneal/conjunctival staining were not significantly different between the two populations. Senofilcon A increased the number of patients reporting no dryness (habitual vs senA, 20 vs 44%, p < 0.0003), irritation (22 vs 37%, p = 0.015), redness (52 vs 76%, p =0.009) and stinging (58 vs 77%, p = 0.012) but did not significantly affect clinical signs. Senofilcon A was significantly more efficient than non-senA lenses in improving dryness (scale of 0 to 3: senA vs non-senA, 0.64 vs 1.02, p = 0.0056), irritation (0.72 vs 1.16, p = 0.0015), and stinging (0.18 vs 0.53, p = 0.0049).

Conclusions: A substantial proportion of CL wearers report SEs with their habitual lenses. These patients are characterized by a high prevalence of additional symptoms, which are not reflected in clinical signs. Senofilcon A, or lenses with similar properties, may help reduce these symptoms in SE patients.




§MPhil, PhD, FAAO

Visioncare Research Ltd., Farnham, United Kingdom (MS, CH, GY); and Vistakon, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida (SH-C).

Michael Spyridon Visioncare Research Ltd. Craven House West Street GU9 7EN Farnham United Kingdom e-mail:

© 2012 American Academy of Optometry