Daily disposables are often touted as the healthiest contact lens modality for patients. And a new study in Cornea further backs up this claim, showing eyes that wore daily disposable lenses for one week had only minimal inflammation compared with eyes that didn’t wear lenses.

The research team from the University of Manchester in the UK enrolled 20 soft contact lens wearers who wore three different types of lenses: two version of reusable lenses and a daily disposable option. For one week, the patients wore the lenses in a random sequence in one eye, and the other non-lens wearing eye acted as the control. Testing included a tear cytokine evaluation, in vivo confocal microscopy and impression cytology.

Of the 13 cytokines investigated, researchers only found differences in IL-12p70. This was present in greater concentrations in both of the reusable options compared with the daily disposables. For in vivo confocal microscopy, corneal presumed dendritic cell density was lower in the daily disposable lenses compared to both the reusable hydrogel and silicone hydrogel lenses.

The researchers observed a similar trend in the other five in vivo confocal microscopy measures they evaluated. Additionally, the study reported CD45 cells in the bulbar conjunctiva were lower in the daily disposables compared with the reusable lenses. Similar findings were observed for cells in the upper lid margin, the researchers noted.

"Our data suggest that daily disposable contact lenses have a minimal impact on measurable ocular surface physiology,” says study author Carole Maldonado-Codina, BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD, MCOptom, of the University of Manchester. “Our subclinical findings demonstrate that daily disposable lenses produce a reduced immune response compared to reusable lenses, but we do not yet know whether these short-term findings predict longer-term manifest inflammation. Intuitively, producing contact lenses which have minimal or no impact on the ocular surface is an important aim for researchers and industry such that we can maintain optimum ocular health for our patients."

Saliman NH, Morgan PB, MacDonald AS, et al. Subclinical inflammation of the ocular surface in soft contact lens wear. Cornea. November 7, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].