Ocular response to silicone-hydrogel contact lenses
The thesis investigates the ocular response to silicone-hydrogel (SiH) contact lens wear, a relatively new contact lens material that has a higher modulus of rigidity and different surface coating than used in conventional hydrogel materials. The properties of SiH materials differ significantly from conventional hydrogels and, using subjective and objective means of assessment, the thesis examines how these properties affect reflection and biometry, ocular physiology, tear film characteristics, symptomatology, adverse events and complications. A range of standard and newly designed investigative techniques were employed, and latter involving novel imaging techniques, for the objective assessment of physiological changes which occur with contact lens wear. The study is the first to combine these techniques with biochemical analyses of the tear film composition. Forty-seven subjects were fitted with SiH lenses and randomly allocated to one of the two materials currently on the market (Lotrafilcon A or Balafilcon A) on an either daily or continuous wear basis. An additional control group of 14 age-matched non-contact lens wearers were monitored over the same period. Measurements were taken before and 1, 3, 6, 12 and 18 months after initial fitting. The findings reported in this thesis will enable contact lens practitioners and manufacturers to understand further the optical, physiological and biochemical nature of the ocular response to SiH contact lenses and hence facilitate the development of this important generation of contact lens material.