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Modeling Corneal Oxygen with Scleral Gas Permeable Lens Wear

Compañ, Vicente; Aguilella-Arzo, Marcel; Edrington, Timothy B.; Weissman, Barry A.

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000988
Feature Article - Public Access

Purpose: The main goal of this current work is to use an updated calculation paradigm, and updated boundary conditions, to provide theoretical guidelines to assist the clinician whose goal is to improve his or her scleral gas permeable (GP) contact lens wearing patients’ anterior corneal oxygen supply.

Methods: Our model uses a variable value of corneal oxygen consumption developed through Monod equations that disallows negative oxygen tensions within the stroma to predict oxygen tension at the anterior corneal surface of scleral GP contact lens wearing eyes, and to describe oxygen tension and flux profiles, for various boundary conditions, through the lens, tears, and cornea. We use several updated tissue and boundary parameters in our model. Tear exchange with GP scleral lenses is considered nonexistent in this model.

Results: The majority of current scleral GP contact lenses should produce some levels of corneal hypoxia under open eye conditions. Only lenses producing the thinnest of tear vaults should result in anterior corneal surface oxygen tensions greater than a presumed critical oxygen tension of 100 mmHg. We also find that corneal oxygen tension and flux are each more sensitive to modification in tear vault than to changes in lens oxygen permeability, within the ranges of current clinical manipulation.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that clinicians would be prudent to prescribe scleral GP lenses manufactured from higher oxygen permeability materials and especially to fit without excessive corneal clearance.




Departamento de Termodinámica Aplicada, ETSII, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain (VC); Departamento de Física, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain (MA-A); The Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University, Fullerton, California (TBE, BAW); and Stein Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California (BAW).

Barry A. Weissman Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University 2575 Yorba Linda Blvd Fullerton, CA 92831 e-mail:

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© 2016 American Academy of Optometry