While previous investigations show corneal epithelial dendritic cell density may increase with contact lens wear, a new study suggests density, distribution and morphology of these cells don’t differ among established lens wearers and may be influenced by age.
The researchers looked at patients between the ages of 16 and 36 because younger contact lens wearers (ages 15 to 25) are at higher risk of corneal inflammation, yet little has been reported on their corneal inflammatory state, they noted.
In this younger group, investigators observed a relatively lower corneal epithelial dendritic cell density in the central cornea, which may be due to a more naive immune status and deserves further study, they said.
The study enrolled 40 patients—20 contact lens wearers and 20 healthy non-wearers—and included corneal imaging through in vivo confocal microscopy
Researchers reported a lower ratio of central to mid-peripheral corneal epithelial dendritic cell density with younger age, but the morphology was not associated with age or contact lens wear. Additionally, investigators found a higher corneal epithelial dendritic cell density in the mid-peripheral cornea in soft lens wearers compared with non-wearers, but central density showed no differences.
Also of note: corneal epithelial dendritic cell density and morphology were not significantly different between the center (median density 11 cells/mm2) and mid-periphery (10 cells/mm2).
Researchers suggest a decreased central corneal epithelial dendritic cell density identified in orthokeratology lens wear requires further investigation in a larger study.
|Golebiowski B, Chao C, Bui KA, et al. Effect of age and contact lens wear on corneal epithelial dendritic cell distribution, density, and morphology. Contact Lens Anterior Eye. June 18, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].|