Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses Offer Significantly Improved Comfort

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Silicone Contact Lenses

Daily-wear silicone hydrogel contact lenses can improve comfort significantly versus hydrogel lenses in most surroundings.

The research also reveals that newer, second-generation silicone hydrogels made from senofilcon A and galyfilcon A can significantly reduce the frequency of commonly reported ocular surface symptoms such as dryness and discomfort in adverse environments and during visually demanding tasks, such as traveling by plane, driving at night, using a computer, reading, and sitting in an air-conditioned or heated car or building. The findings appear in the April issue of Optometry and Vision Science, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Optometry.

Nearly 500 contact lens wearers between the ages of 18 and 40 participated in the study, which was conducted at 48 clinical sites throughout the United States. Participants' subjective responses enabled researchers to evaluate the frequency of use of contact lenses and the associated comfort in 12 challenging environments while wearing hydrogel lenses and then again after being refit with silicone hydrogel contacts.

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More than 80 percent of participants reported wearing contact lenses "always" or "frequently" during everyday tasks: while reading, sitting in an air-conditioned or heated car, using a computer and while driving at night. Less than 40 percent said they wore their contacts "always" or "frequently" while riding in an airplane, at high altitudes, or while napping or sleeping. Contact lens wearers reported dusty, polluted or smoky environments as the least comfortable situations for contact lens wear. However, after being refit with silicone hydrogel lenses, study participants reported that many environments, particularly those in which they reported the most discomfort with hydrogel lenses, no longer appeared to pose such a challenge.

"Contact lens wearers frequently put up with environmentally-triggered discomfort because they need to continue wearing lenses while working, traveling, or in other situations," explains study co-author Robin Chalmers, O.D., F.A.A.O., an independent clinical researcher specializing in contact lens epidemiology. "Left unmanaged, these exacerbating conditions may compromise their ability to wear contacts comfortably throughout the day. In this study, after being refit with newer types of silicone hydrogel lenses, contact lens wearers reported significantly improved comfort in most environments."

The purpose of the study was to measure the proportion of daily-wear hydrogel contact lens wearers who wear lenses in challenging environments and during visually demanding tasks, and to evaluate their resulting comfort in those conditions. A second objective was to determine whether refitting those wearers with newer types of silicone hydrogel lenses affects lens comfort among subjects who wear lenses in these situations.

Baseline data were collected from 496 hydrogel soft lens wearers on the frequency of use of contact lenses and the associated comfort in challenging environments, including, but not limited to, air travel, driving at night, using a computer, reading, and exposure to air-conditioning or heater while driving or in a building.

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