Purpose: The aim of this study was to analyze whether symptoms of discomfort in hydrogel contact lens (HCL) wearers were associated with changes in corneal sensitivity or levels of tear inflammatory mediators.
Methods: Sixty-six subjects were included: 47 HCL wearers, further divided into 24 symptomatic and 23 asymptomatic wearers by the Contact Lens Dry Eye Questionnaire short form and 19 non–contact lens wearers. At least 24 h after HCL removal, we obtained scores from the Ocular Surface Disease Index and mechanical, hot, and cold corneal thresholds using a Belmonte esthesiometer. We collected 4 μl of tears with a capillary micropipette and measured levels of 12 inflammatory markers using a bead-based array: epidermal growth factor, fractalkine, interleukin-10 (IL-10), IL-1β, IL-1 receptor antagonist, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, tumor necrosis factor-α, and matrix metalloproteinase 9.
Results: There were no significant differences between groups in corneal sensitivity thresholds and levels of tear molecules. The following significant correlations were found in the total sample pooled: Ocular Surface Disease Index correlated with mechanical threshold (p < 0.01; rho = −0.324) and epidermal growth factor (p < 0.01, rho = −0.330), and mechanical threshold correlated with heat threshold (p < 0.01, rho = −0.321).
Conclusions: Twenty-four hours after HCL removal, symptoms of discomfort in HCL wearers are not related to changes in corneal sensitivity or tear inflammatory mediator levels. This might indicate either that HCL wear has no effect on these parameters or that ocular surfaces recover from HCL-caused effects during the first hours after HCL removal. However, there were correlations for associations between symptoms, corneal sensitivity, and some molecules in tears.
Ocular Surface Group, IOBA-University of Valladolid, Campus Universitario Miguel Delibes, Valladolid, Spain (ALdlR, VM-M, AL-M, MC, AE-d-S, MJG-G); Networking Research Center on Bioengineering Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN), Valladolid, Spain (VM-M, MC, AE-d-S, MJG-G); and VISION I+D, SL, Edificio IOBA, Campus Universitario Miguel Delibes, Valladolid, Spain (AL-M).
María Jesús González-García IOBA-University of Valladolid Campus Miguel Delibes Paseo de Belén 17 E-47011 Valladolid Spain e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org