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Association Between Contact Lens Discomfort and Pre-lens Tear Film Kinetics

Guillon, Michel; Dumbleton, Kathryn A.; Theodoratos, Panagiotis; Wong, Stephanie; Patel, Kishan; Banks, Gaidig; Patel, Trisha

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000866

Purpose The relationship between contact lens wettability and comfort has been extensively evaluated; however, a direct correlation between the characteristics of the pre-lens tear film and the symptoms associated with contact lens discomfort has yet to be established. In addition, there is relatively limited knowledge relating to the entire tear film kinetics during the inter-blink period in contact lens wearers. The purpose of this analysis was to identify the characteristics of the pre-lens tear film kinetics that may be associated with the symptoms of contact lens discomfort.

Methods The study population comprised 202 soft (hydrogel and silicone hydrogel) contact lens wearers attending pre-screening visits at the OTG-i research clinic. All participants completed the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire and the tear film was quantified via post hoc, masked analysis of high definition digital Tearscope videos recorded at the visit. The tear film kinetics of the least symptomatic wearers (OSDI lowest quintile scores, n = 45) were compared to the tear film kinetics of the most symptomatic wearers (OSDI highest quintile scores, n = 43). The hypothesis tested was that the tear film kinetics of asymptomatic wearers were better than tear film kinetics of symptomatic wearers.

Results The distribution of lens types worn was as follows: Daily Disposable 46.5%, 1-Month Replacement 39.6%, and 2-Week Replacement 13.6%. 48.2% of lenses were silicone hydrogel and 51.8% hydrogel. Symptomatic wearers had a shorter break-up time (4.7 s vs. 6.0 s; p = 0.003), lesser surface coverage by the tear film during the interblink period (95.1% vs. 98.5%; p < 0.001) and greater surface exposure at the time of the blink (9.4% vs. 3.9%; p = 0.001).

Conclusions The current study demonstrated that the tear film kinetics of asymptomatic and symptomatic contact lens wearers were different, the findings supporting the hypothesis of poorer tear film kinetics for symptomatic than asymptomatic wearers in a general contact lens wearing population.


†BSc(Hons), MSc

‡BA, BSc(Hons)



OCULAR TECHNOLOGY GROUP—International, London, United Kingdom (MG, KD, BT, BW, KP, GB, TP); and School of Life and Health Science, Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom (MG).

Michel Guillon, OCULAR TECHNOLOGY GROUP—International, 66 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AU, United Kingdom e-mail:

© 2016 American Academy of Optometry