OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to summarize the clinical characteristics of patients with contact lens-associated focal limbal stem cell deficiency (FLSCD) from a tertiary corneal referral centre.
DESIGN: Retrospective, observational case series in a tertiary care centre.
METHODS: Patients with contact lens-associated FLCSD were identified in our database. Clinical data were retrieved by chart review. A questionnaire asking for contact lens brand, type, cleaning solution, and duration of contact lens wear was sent to the patients with telephone follow-up. Clinical features and recovery time were identified.
RESULTS: Twenty-seven eyes of 17 patients were identified with superior corneal whorl-like patches of opaque epithelium, sometimes accompanied by neovascularization. Of the patients, 17/17 used soft contact lenses, with a mean wearing duration of 11.4 hours per day. Patients had been wearing lenses for an average of 18.1 years. Silicone hydrogel lenses were noted in 12/17 cases. LSCD was superior in all 27 eyes, and all of them improved with contact lens wear cessation, preservative-free topical steroids, and preservative-free artificial tears. Visual acuity improved from 20/28 to 20/22 (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Contact lens-associated FLSCD typically presents in the superior cornea with whorl-like epithelial opacities advancing from the limbus. Conservative medical treatment is available and shows a high success rate after a slow recovery.