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Cornea. 2008 Aug;27(7):758-63. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e31816a3591.

Inflammatory response to contact lenses in patients with keratoconus compared with myopic subjects.

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  • 1Instituto Galego de Oftalmoloxía, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. isbellg@usc.es



To determine the levels of inflammatory molecules in the tears of patients who wore rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses (CLs) and who had either keratoconus or myopia.


A prospective, case-control study with 4 groups enrolled 20 RGP CL keratoconus wearers and 28 keratoconus non-lens wearers, 20 myopic CL wearers, and 20 subjects with myopia that were non-lens wearers (1 eye per patient). Fifteen microliters of tears were collected by capillary flow. The concentration of cytokines (interleukin-6 [IL-6], IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-alpha), cell adhesion molecules (intercellular adhesion molecule 1 [ICAM-1] and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 [VCAM-1]), and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-9) was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


The most significant differences associated with the wearing of RGP CLs in patients with keratoconus were seen in increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6, 23.7 vs. 6.4 pg/mL, P = 0.001; TNF-alpha, 21.3 vs. 3.8 pg/mL, P = 0.028) and cell adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, 32.8 vs. 7.7 ng/mL, P < 0.0001; VCAM-1, 57.4 vs. 29.3 ng/mL, P < 0.0001). In patients with myopia, increased levels of TNF-alpha (4.2 vs. 1.8 pg/mL, P < 0.0001) and MMP-9 (12.9 vs. 6.1 ng/mL, P < 0.0001) were associated with the wearing of RGP CLs.


Wearing RGP CLs induces overexpression of IL-6, TNF-alpha, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1 in the tears of patients with keratoconus. These increased levels are higher in cases with severe keratoconus.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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