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Limbal Metabolic Support Reduces Peripheral Corneal Edema with Contact-Lens Wear.

  • Author(s): Kim, Young Hyun
  • Lin, Meng C
  • Radke, Clayton J
  • et al.


To assess the influence of limbal metabolic support on corneal edema during scleral-lens (SL) and soft-contact-lens (SCL) wear for healthy lens wearers.


A two-dimensional (2D) model of the cornea and sclera was designed on Comsol Multiphysics 5.4 along with SL and SCL architectures to mimic lens-wear induced hypoxia. The cornea is suffused with oxygen and metabolites from the limbus and aqueous humor. Air oxygen is supplied from and carbon dioxide is expelled to the atmosphere. Lens-oxygen permeability (Dk) was adjusted to investigate lens-wear safety against edema in different wear conditions. The 2D concentrations of oxygen, carbon dioxide, bicarbonate, lactate, sodium, chloride, glucose, and pH are quantified. Central-to-peripheral swelling of the cornea is determined by the change in stromal hydration caused by changing metabolite concentrations at the endothelium during hypoxia.


The metabolic model assesses central-to-peripheral corneal swelling with different types of lenses, and oxygen Dks. Limbal metabolic support reduces edema from the periphery to approximately 1 mm away from the central cornea. Despite thicker lens designs, the peripheral cornea exhibits practically zero swelling due to limbal metabolic support.


The metabolic model accurately predicts central-to-peripheral corneal edema with various contact-lens designs, post-lens tear-film thicknesses, and lens oxygen Dk values. Despite the thicker periphery of most contact-lens designs, lactate and bicarbonate support from the limbus significantly reduces peripheral and mid-peripheral corneal edema, whereas oxygen has a lesser effect.

Translational relevance

By utilizing metabolic kinetics, we provide a 2D computational tool to predict oxygenation safety across the entire cornea with various types and designs of contact lenses.

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