This investigation monitored the response of established contact lens wearers using contact lenses made from Filcon 4a 77% water-content material in three different thicknesses (0.08, 0.10 and 0.12 mm) over a 6-hour period of wear under adverse environmental conditions. The results obtained showed the following. (1) In accordance with previous studies carried out with lenses of similar water content, the present lenses produced corneal desiccation staining under the challenging conditions of use. However, the staining produced was similar for all three lens thicknesses tested. (2) Corneal desiccation staining was present despite the good and stable fitting characteristics observed during the study, confirming that mechanical trauma is not a necessary cause for soft-lens-induced desiccation staining. (3) Corneal desiccation staining was associated with a rapidly destabilizing pre-lens tear film (PLTF) and a thinning lipid layer. The initial break-up of the PLTF and corneal staining were recorded with a higher incidence in the vertical quadrants than in the horizontal quadrants. The PLTF is thinnest and most unstable at the tear prism margin border, hence least efficacious at preventing evaporation. Corneal desiccation staining may be due, at least partly, to excessive evaporation at the contact lens front surface.
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