Soft contact lens wear may lead to physiological changes in the cornea. Corneal densitometry is a new software tool that may detect these physiological changes by monitoring their effects on corneal transparency.
This study aimed to assess corneal densitometry values and corneal endothelium in patients using soft contact lenses.
The study included 36 eyes of 36 subjects with soft contact lens use (group 1) and 36 eyes of 36 healthy control subjects (group 2). Anterior segment parameters and corneal densitometry of all subjects were evaluated using Scheimpflug corneal topography (Pentacam; Oculus Inc., Wetzlar, Germany). A total corneal area of 12 mm was divided into four annular zones (0 to 2, 2 to 6, 6 to 10, and 10 to 12 mm) and into three regions as anterior, central, and posterior for densitometry examination. Cell density, cell distribution, and cell morphology (quadrangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, and other cell percentages) of the endothelial layer were examined in both groups using specular microscopy (Nidek CEM 530; Nidek Co., Gamagori, Aichi, Japan).
In group 1, the mean duration of contact lens wear was 4.45 ± 2.15 years. The anterior segment parameters were not significantly different between the two groups (P > .05). The anterior 0- to 2- and 2- to 6-mm corneal densitometry values were significantly higher in group 1 compared with group 2 (23.2 ± 4.7 for group 1 and 17.3 ± 5.6 for group 2 [P = .03]; 22.4 ± 6.4 for group 1 and 17.8 ± 1.4 for group 2 [P = .03], respectively). There were no significant differences between the groups for corneal densitometry values between 6 and 12 mm, or for cell density, cell distribution, and cell morphology (P > .05).
Although the cornea remains transparent in soft contact lens wearers, corneal densitometry may increase in the 0- to 6-mm annular zone of the anterior region.