Contact lens discomfort – Interactive 1

Closing Date: 23/10/2020

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Whether wearing contact lenses is comfortable or not will dictate the time for which a patient is able to wear them or whether they decide to stop wearing them altogether. Over recent years, we have been bombarded with information showing how modern life has had an adverse impact on the ocular surface. If increasing life expectancy and extended working lives were not enough, long periods of staring at digital screens; existing in increasingly controlled artificial environments; constant and near-infinite variation in task contrast, size and distance; challenges to our innate circadian rhythm of metabolism; and unpredictable or non-uniform changes to light level exposure all contribute to this. Throw in other influences such as car driving, smoking, new or changed diets, modern drug use (both prescribed and recreational), then it is no surprise that we need to constantly review our understanding of what might cause ocular discomfort.

At present, we are just seeing the start of what is likely to be flood of concerns about ocular discomfort that might be traced back to a newly adapted home-based work environment – all thanks to lockdown. So it is fair to say that challenges to ocular comfort are rife for all of us.

In our series so far, we have tried to highlight one important point. For too long, discomfort when wearing a contact lens has been looked at and managed as if it were specifically a contact lens problem. I confess, on occasion in the past, I have issued topical lubricants to solve a reported loss of comfort at a soft lens aftercare. Fair enough, but if this is the default response, then other triggers as previously mentioned are ignored and might have been a more appropriate target for intervention if a long-term drop-free future was to be hoped for.

The articles so far published, and which will now form the source material for this new exercise, are as follows: