Clinical significance of contact lens related changes of ocular surface tissue observed on optical coherence images

Alexandra Jandl, Thomas Ruland, David Schwarz, James S. Wolffsohn, Heiko Pult, Stefan Bandlitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To investigate the relationship between the real contact lens imprint into the conjunctival tissue, observed by optical coherence tomography (OCT) and conjunctival staining and contact lens wearing comfort. Methods: 17 participants (mean age = 26.6 SD ± 3.6 years; 7 females) were fitted with three different contact lenses base curves of the same silicone hydrogel custom lens type (Visell 50; Hecht Contactlinsen, Au, Germany) in a randomised order. One lens was optimally fitted according to the manufacturer's recommendation, one fitted 0.4 mm flatter and one fitted 0.4 mm steeper. After 4 h of lens wear the contact lens edge in the area of the conjunctiva was imaged nasally and temporally using OCT (Optovue iVue SD-OCT). To correct the artefact due to optical distortion with OCT, the imprint of all worn lenses was measured on a glass plate afterwards. Conjunctival staining in the limbal region after 4 h of lens wear was classified using the CCLRU Grading Scale. Comfort scoring was based on visual analog scales from 0 (very poor) to 100 (excellent). Results: The mean conjunctival imprint of all contact lens edges was 32.0 ± 8.1 μm before and 7.3 ± 6.5 μm after distortion correction of the OCT images. The distortion corrected conjunctival imprint with the 0.4 mm steeper lens (11.5 ± 6.2 μm) was statistically significantly greater compared to the optimally fitted lens (6.5 ± 5.9 μm) (One-way ANOVA followed Tukey-test; p = 0.017) and greater compared to the 0.4 mm flatter lens (3.9 ± 5.3 μm) (p < 0.001). There was no statistically significant difference between the optimally fitted lens and the 0.4 mm flatter lens (p = 0.209). The nasally measured imprint (11.4 ± 9.0 μm) was significantly greater than the temporally measured (3.3 ± 7.6 μm) (p < 0.001). There was no statistically significant correlation between the amount of conjunctival imprint and the graded conjunctival staining (p = 0.346) or the wearer's comfort (p = 0.735). Conclusions: Contact lens edges imaged by OCT exhibited displacement artefacts. The observed conjunctival imprints are a combination of real conjunctival compression and artefacts. A deeper imprint of the contact lens into the conjunctiva caused by a steeper base curve was not related to clinically significant staining or changes in comfort after 4 h of lens wear. The observed differences between nasal and temporal imprint are likely to be caused by variations of conjunctival thickness and the shape of the underlying sclera.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101388
JournalContact Lens and Anterior Eye
Issue number6
Early online date5 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Conjunctival compression
  • Conjunctival staining
  • Contact lens edge
  • Displacement artefacts
  • Optical coherence tomography


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