The effect of contact lens wear on dynamic ocular surface temperature

Christine Purslow*, James S. Wolffsohn, Jacinto Santodomingo-Rubido

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To determine the dynamic emitted temperature changes of the anterior eye during and immediately after wearing different materials and modalities of soft contact lenses. Method: A dynamic, non-contact infrared camera (Thermo-Tracer TH7102MX, NEC San-ei) was used to record the ocular surface temperature (OST) in 48 subjects (mean age 21.7 ± 1.9 years) wearing: lotrafilcon-A contact lenses on a daily wear (LDW; n = 8) or continuous wear (LCW; n = 8) basis; balafilcon-A contact lenses on a daily wear (BDW; n = 8) or continuous wear (BCW; n = 8) basis; etafilcon-A contact lenses on a daily disposable regimen (EDW; n = 8); and no lenses (controls; n = 8). OST was measured continuously five times, for 8 s after a blink, following a minimum of 2 h wear and immediately following lens removal. Absolute temperature, changes in temperature post-blink and the dynamics of temperature changes were calculated. Results: OST immediately following contact lens wear was significantly greater compared to non-lens wearers (37.1 ± 1.7 °C versus 35.0 ± 1.1 °C; p < 0.005), predominantly in the LCW group (38.6 ± 1.0 °C; p < 0.0001). Lens surface temperature was highly correlated (r = 0.97) to, but lower than OST (by -0.62 ± 0.3 °C). There was no difference with modality of wear (DW 37.5 ± 1.6 °C versus CW 37.8 ± 1.9 °C; p = 0.63), but significant differences were found between etafilcon A and silicone hydrogel lens materials (35.3 ± 1.1 °C versus 37.5 ± 1.5 °C; p < 0.0005). Ocular surface cooling following a blink was not significantly affected by contact lens wear with (p = 0.07) or without (p = 0.47) lenses in situ. Conclusions: Ocular surface temperature is greater with hydrogel and greater still with silicone hydrogel contact lenses in situ, regardless of modality of wear. The effect is likely to be due to the thermal transmission properties of a contact lens. © 2004 British Contact Lens Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalContact Lens and Anterior Eye
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • ocular surface temperature
  • silicone hydrogel
  • thermography


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