OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of conjunctival and corneal epithelial staining in soft contact lens wearers and to see if staining could be associated with factors such as type of lens worn, wearing time, care system, age, and sex. METHODS: The records of 338 adapted hydrogel contact lens wearers were examined retrospectively. RESULTS: Conjunctival staining was found to be present in 32.5% of the subjects and corneal staining was found to be present in 19.5% of subjects. None of the subjects had staining above grade 2 using the Cornea and Contact Lens Research Unit scale. Because of the low prevalence of staining, the low grading of staining found and the large variation in refractive power, lens type worn, wearing modality, and solution used statistical analysis for association between staining and different factors could only be performed for the association between sex and staining and between corneal and conjunctival staining. However, no statistical significant association could be demonstrated. DISCUSSION: Despite the low prevalence of staining the conjunctiva and cornea should be examined carefully in contact lens wearers and prospective wearers because the conjunctival and corneal epithelium serve as protective barriers for the underlying layers of the cornea and conjunctiva. To allow comparison of data obtained in different studies assessing corneal staining, it is recommended that clinicians develop and adopt a universal standard protocol for this measure.
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