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Cornea. 2012 Oct;31(10):1097-102. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318221cee0.

Trends in contact lens-related corneal ulcers at a tertiary referral center.

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Cornea Service, Wills Eye Institute, Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



To evaluate the changes and trends in the number and characteristics of contact lens-related ulcers (CLRUs) and to compare the results with those of previously published series at our institution.


Medical records of all patients diagnosed with presumed bacterial corneal ulcers seen at the Cornea Service, Wills Eye Institute, between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2007, were retrospectively reviewed.


Five hundred seven corneal ulcers were identified. Of these, 223 (43.9%) were contact lens (CL) related and 284 (56.1%) were not CL related. The proportion of CLRU showed a significant increase over time (P = 0.003), with significantly greater percentage of CLRU in 2006 and 2007 compared with 2004 (P = 0.004 and P = 0.005, respectively). One hundred thirty-one (58.7%) of the 223 CLRU patients were men. Many CLRUs were vision threatening, with 45.7% (92 of 201) more than 4 mm in size, 36.3% (81 of 223) associated with hypopyon, and 46.4% (103 of 222) central or paracentral in location. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most frequent agent isolated in CLRUs, found in 75 (63.0%) of 119 positive cultures. Soft daily-wear frequent replacement lenses were the most common lenses associated with corneal ulcers and were used in 68 (33.5%) of 203 cases. There was a history of overnight wear of CLs in more than half of the cases (121 of 223, 54.3%). Of these, 21 (9.4%) were not approved for overnight wear.


There was a significant increase in the number of cases of presumed bacterial keratitis associated with soft CL wear over the study period from 2004 to 2007 at our institution. The significant increase in CLRU noted from 1996 to 1999 to 1999 to 2002 reported previously seems to have continued between 2004 and 2007.

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