The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Abstract: Evaporation rate through contact lenses

This is an interesting piece looking at contacts in terms of whether they accelerate or slow down tear evaporation. It's all theoretical at this stage i.e. in vitro tests trying to figure out what factors and additives (from our natural tears or elsewhere) affect the evaporation rates but definitely intriguing.

Accelerated evaporation of tears may contribute to dry eye symptoms. It is not clear whether contact lenses decrease or increase the rate of evaporation of tears. In this study, the rates of evaporation through contact lenses (ERTCL) were measured in vitro to gain insight to this question. Contact lenses were equilibrated with various solutions to determine if they influenced ERTCL in vitro. ERTCL was measured gravimetrically. ERTCL measured in vitro for used contact lenses was about 20% faster than for buffer alone suggesting that natural tear components bound to the lenses changed the ERTCL. One natural tear component that binds to contact lenses is waxes. Equilibration of contact lenses with wax increased the ERTCL by about 30% suggesting that waxes might potentially increase ERTCL in vivo. Squalene, found in sebum and possibly meibum was infused into the contact lenses as a step toward decreasing the ERTCL. Squalene decreased ERTCL by over 60% in vitro. Soaking a contact lens in DuraSite(®) with benzalkonium chloride (BAK) did not alter the ERTCL. ERTCL were about 40% higher than the evaporation rate of DuraSite(®) alone or without BAK. In addition to lowering the ERTCL, the squalene in contact lenses could be a source of terpenoids to replace the terpenoids deficient in patients with MGD. If the ERTCL could be minimized in vivo, contact lenses could potentially be used to relieve dry eye symptoms in patients with evaporative dry eye.
Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2012 Aug 17. [Epub ahead of print]
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Louisville, 301 E. Muhammad Ali Blvd., Louisville, KY 40202, USA.