To analyze the frequency of contact lens–related corneal ulcers and its relationship to the type of contact lens and care.
Charts of 376 patients with corneal ulcers seen at the Cornea Service of Wills Eye Hospital from July 1, 1999 to December 31, 2002 were retrospectively reviewed. All patients with contact lens–related corneal ulcers were identified, and information regarding cultures, lens type, usage, and cleaning was obtained.
Of the 376 cases, 113 (30%) were related to contact lens use. The contact lens history was recorded in 83 of 113 cases (73%). The soft daily wear frequent replacement lens was the most common lens type associated with corneal ulcers (n = 36/83, 43%). Corneal cultures were performed in 71 of 113 cases (63%) and were positive in 51 of 71 cases (72%). The most common microorganism involved was Pseudomonas aeruginosa (n = 17/51, 33%). The frequency of contact lens–related corneal ulcers from 1999–2002 (n = 113/376, 30%) was significantly greater than that from years 1996–1999 (n = 37/299, 12%) at our institution (P < 0.05).
There was a significant increase in the number of contact lens–related corneal ulcers between 1999 and 2002 compared with previous years (P < 0.05). The contact lens type most frequently associated with corneal ulcers was the soft daily-wear frequent-replacement contact lens (43%). Contact lens-related corneal ulcers continue to be a serious problem despite a shift in the market to the use of frequent-replacement daily-wear contact lenses and advances in contact lens technology.