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Acta Ophthalmol Suppl. 1984;161:123-7.

The significance of low atmospheric pressure on the eyes with reference to soft contact lenses.


Many aircraft passengers wearing contact lenses have complained about visual disturbances, tearing and smarting of the eyes. This kind of discomfort has been named jet-set disease. The literature on this subject has been reviewed. Also my own study is reported. In that study seven test persons were examined during four hours in a decompression chamber. The atmospheric pressure was lowered to 560 millibars , which corresponds to an altitude of 4,000 metres. All test persons wore soft contact lenses. Objective symptoms were verified in four eyes after one hour and in all 14 eyes after three hours. The most serious objective findings were corneal erosions in 4 and opacities of corneal stroma in 10 eyes. The two investigators who did not wear contact lenses remained without both subjective and objective symptoms.

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