Rigid gas-permeable lenses correct vision after ocular trauma

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By Sarah Guy, medwireNews Reporter

Fitting a rigid gas-permeable contact lens (RGPCL) into the eyes of patients treated surgically for ocular trauma can improve their visual acuity and are well tolerated, report researchers from China.

While trauma such as corneal scarring and aphakia (absence of the lens of the eye) are commonly treated with intraocular lens (IOL) implantation, the management of aphakia in particular can be complicated by a lack of capsular support, remarks the team.

The current findings indicate that RGPCLs are a good alternative to IOL implantation; the visual acuity of eyes fitted with these lenses improved significantly compared with no correction, and was also improved compared with spectacles.

"The aim of treating unilateral aphakia with inadequate capsular support after trauma is to increase VA [visual acuity] and improve quality of life," write Jian-Ping Tong (Zhejiang University) and colleagues in Clinical and Experimental Optometry, whose study cohort comprised 17 individuals with the condition.

Participants were fitted with the RGPCL 3.0 months after surgery for the original trauma, and were followed up for an average 20.5 months, during which time their visual acuity, comfort of fit, contact lens-related complications, and contact lens usability and integrity were recorded.

Visual acuity was improved significantly by contact lenses in all patients, and was also significantly better compared with spectacle-corrected visions in all but one patient, report Tong et al.

Specifically, an acuity of 6/20 or better on the Snellen visual acuity scale was seen in 41% (n=7) of eyes with spectacle correction, and 88% (15) of eyes with contact lens-corrected vision. The corresponding rates of 6/12 vision were 24% (n=4) and 59% (n=10).

The team considered that wearing the lenses for 10 hours per day for 7 days per week was an indication of comfort, and indeed 16 patients were able to wear them for more than 10 hours per day during 1 week.

No patient reported corneal opacity or infection during follow up; however, seven patients had corneal punctate staining and four had papillae or giant papillary conjunctivitis.

Finally, nine eyes were fitted with brown-tinted RGPCLs to compensate for aniridia, or loss of the iris, which the research team remarks "can improve the symptoms of photophobia and the cosmetic appearance of brown eyes significantly."

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