Effect of contact lens materials on tear physiology

Lee Choon Thai, Allan Tomlinson*, Marshall G. Doane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


This study measured evaporation rate, thinning characteristics, and lipid layer changes in the prelens tear film (PLTF) associated with wearing of different soft contact lens materials, in an attempt to determine the biocompatibility of the material with the PLTF.
Twenty habituated contact lens wearers wore five different soft materials in a random order on the left eye at visits separated by at least 24 h. The soft contact lens materials were polymacon (Optima 38), omafilcon A (Proclear Compatibles), phemflicon A (DuraSoft 2), balafilcon A (PureVision), and etafilcon A (Acuvue). Tear film evaporation rate was measured by a modified Servo Med Evaporimeter and tear thinning time by HirCal grid. Tear film structure, elimination rate, and lens wetting ability were recorded dynamically with a Doane tear film video interferometer and graded according to a new system developed for the study. Baseline measurements were taken of precorneal tear film before lens insertion, and PLTF was determined 30 min after commencing lens wear.
Results. No statistically significant differences were found for any of the baseline (precorneal tear film) data. There was also no significant difference in evaporation rate change (analysis of variance) and in tear thinning time (Friedmann) between the five contact lenses. In the PLTF structure grading, omafilcon A had significantly more stable grades than phemfilcon A (Friedmann, p = 0.0033) and polymacon (p = 0.004). In PLTF observation of tear thinning and elimination rate, there was a significantly slower rate of elimination obbossaserved for omafilcon A than phemfilcon A (Friedmann, p = 0.0023) and polymacon (p = 0.0023). There was no significant difference in the overall PLTF wetting ability grading between any of the lenses worn. Conclusion. Generally, all soft contact lens materials significantly and adversely affected tear physiology by increasing the evaporation rate and decreasing tear thinning time. The surface wetting ability of all contact lens materials exhibited no significantly difference irrespective of the special surface treatments. Only in PLTF structure and in PLTF elimination rate were differences found from the conventional low water content materials; omafilcon A was better in PLTF structure and in PLTF elimination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-204
Number of pages11
JournalOptometry and Vision Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


  • Contact lens
  • Interferometry
  • Tear film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Optometry


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of contact lens materials on tear physiology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this