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Soft contact lens extended wear affects corneal epithelial permeability: hypoxic or mechanical etiology?


Contact lens extended wear increases the permeability of epithelium to sodium fluorescein (P(dc)). The exact mechanism is not known. However, changes in P(dc) likely result from either corneal hypoxia or mechanical trauma, or both. We explored the effects of one-night continuous wear with either high- or low-Dk/t soft lenses on P(dc). The results show that corneal epithelial barrier function decreases significantly with both lens groups. We also observed that Asian eyes had higher P(dc) after overnight wear compared to non-Asian and that for both Asian and non-Asian eyes, the elimination of corneal hypoxia did not prevent changes in epithelial permeability.

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