To study tolerance to three types of soft and one type of rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens in young atopic and non-atopic subjects starting to wear contact lenses.
A prospective study was conducted in 73 young subjects (mean age: 18.7 years, range: 11-37 years). Each subject was allotted at random to one of four groups. Each group of subjects used a different type of contact lens for a year. Tolerance was determined by means of self-assessment by the subjects, ophthalmologic methods, and cytology. The study was conducted on a blind basis. The investigators assessing tolerance did not know what kind of lens a patient had been wearing.
Fifty-six percent of subjects who had used soft contact lenses, but only 14% of RGP lens users described their lenses as very comfortable to wear. Sixty-three percent of non-atopic subjects but only 47% of atopic subjects described their lenses as very comfortable to wear. No differences were found between the three types of soft contact lens. Four cases of giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) and two cases of macropapillary reaction were recorded. No connections with atopy, type of lens, or lens care solution were found.
Higher percentages of users of soft contact lenses than users of RGP contact lenses described their lenses as very comfortable to wear. Wearing of all types of lenses was associated with follicular or papillary reactions in some subjects. Young people can wear contact lenses safely only if monitoring takes place at least twice a year.