To investigate whether underlying rhinoconjunctivitis contributes to contact lens intolerance, we surveyed 885 contact lens wearers by questionnaire. Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis was defined as the presence of nasal symptoms and positive skin tests for inhalant allergens (definite allergy group). Subjects with nasal symptoms and positive family history of atopy or seasonality of symptoms were grouped under presumptive allergy. Absolute intolerance (Al) was defined as abandoning lenses and wearing glasses. Partial intolerance (PI) was defined as changing lenses or cleaning solutions to alleviate eye discomfort. Seventy-six percent of those with allergy exhibited Al or PI as compared to 60% of those with no allergy. Furthermore, the frequency of seasonal exacerbation of eye symptoms when using contact lenses was significantly higher in subjects with allergy compared to those without allergy (spring, 49% vs. 19%, P < .0001; summer, 35% vs. 20%, P < .001; fall, 27% vs. 12%, P < .0001). We conclude that underlying allergic rhinoconjunctivitis may contribute to contact lens intolerance.
© 1991 The Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists, Inc.