For new contact lens wearers, eye care practitioners typically recommend a gradual wearing schedule to help patients adapt to lens wear. But a team of UK researchers suggests this conventional strategy may no longer be needed with some of the latest soft contact lens designs.

Their study, published in Contact Lens & Anterior Eye, found no difference in fast vs. gradual adaptation in patients who wore daily disposable hydrogel and silicon hydrogel contact lenses.

The investigation randomly assigned patients to an adaptation schedule, either fast (10 hours of wear the first day), or gradual (four hours on the first day and two extra hours each day until they reached 10 hours). In the hydrogel lens group, 24 patients were put on the fast schedule and 21 wore their lenses on a gradual schedule. The SiHy group included 10 patients on the fast schedule and 10 who were on the gradual schedule.

Masked investigators graded ocular surface physiology and non-invasive tear break-up time. They also recorded a range of subjective scores at the initial visit, after 10 hours of lens wear, four to six days and 12 to 14 days later.

The study found no difference in ocular surface physiology between the fast and gradual adaptation groups at any time point in either lens type. The researchers also found non-invasive tear break-up time was similar at all time points for both adaptation groups in both lens types with the exception of gradual adaptation SiHy wearers, whose scores were slightly longer than the fast adaptation group at 12 to 14 days.

The study noted the subjective scores were similar across the visits and lens types with the exception of “lens awareness” and “ease of lens removal,” which were better in the fast group compared with the gradual adaptation hydrogel lens group at day seven. Additionally, the fast hydrogel lens group reported less end-of-day discomfort 12 to 14 days compared with the gradual adaptation group.

“There appears to be no benefit in daily disposable soft contact lens adaptation for neophytes with modern contact lens material,” the researchers wrote in their paper. They also cited no underpinning scientific evidence existed for the need for a gradual approach for new lens wearers.

Wolffsohn JS, Dhirajlal H, Vianya-Estopa M, et al. Fast versus gradual adaptation of soft daily disposable contact lenses in neophyte wearers. Contact Lens Anterior Eye. September 20, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].