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Specular Microscopy Studies on the Corneal Endothelium After Cessation of Contact Lens Wear

Sibug Maria Elena M.D.;; Datiles, Manuel B. III M.D.; ; Kashima, Kayoko M.D., Ph.D.; ; McCain, Lessie R.N.; ; Kracher, Gregory O.D.;
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We performed specular microscopy on the corneal endothelium of 22 long-term hard contact lens wearers (15-32 years duration) and 22 age- and sex-matched controls. We found polymegethism in users as shown by a significant difference in the coefficient of variation in cell area (p < 0.01) and pleomorphism as shown by a significant decrease in the percent of 6-sided cells (hexagonality, p < 0.01). There was no significant difference in cell density and mean cell area between the 2 groups. Contact lens wear was discontinued in five eyes of three patients after they were entered into the study and switched to eyeglasses. Specular micrographs were taken up to 60 months after discontinuation of use of the lenses. Comparison of the above parameters before and after discontinuation of the lenses did not show a significant change. However, there was a trend toward improvement in the coefficient of variation in the eyes that were followed the longest. This finding suggests that the morphological changes induced by long-term use of contact lenses may be slowly reversible after prolonged discontinuation of contact lens wear.

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