Artificial tear studied as contact lens lubricant

The benefits of an artificial tear drop that commonly is used to help relieve symptoms of dry eye may extend to contact lens wearers who experience dryness and discomfort caused by their CLs.

A double-masked, randomized, multicenter, parallel-design clinical trial was performed to assess the suitability and acceptance of an artificial tear by wearers of hydrogel, silicone hydrogel, and rigid gas-permeable CLs. An overview of the results was outlined by Joseph G. Vehige, OD, senior director, Consumer Eye Care Research and Development, Allergan.

Of the total subjects (n = 245), 166 subjects were randomly assigned to receive an artificial tear product of 0.5% carboxymethylcellulose and 0.9% glycerin (Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops, Allergan), and 79 subjects received a lens rewetter solution of 0.5% carboxymethylcellulose (Refresh Contacts, Allergan). The subjects were instructed to use 1 to 2 drops of their respective products q.i.d. for 3 months.

Completion rates

The researchers studied completion rates in both groups and used questionnaires to assess any symptoms, problems, or complaints. They also conducted slit lamp examinations and lens-corrected Snellen acuity tests at baseline and at days 7 through 90.

Completion rates in both groups were high: 93.4% among the subjects using artificial tears, and 94.9% among those using the lens rewetter. There was an increase or no change in lens-corrected Snellen acuity at day 90 in 87.1% of the eyes of the artificial tear group (270/310) and 88.3% of the eyes of subjects using the lens rewetter (132/150).

Slit lamp examinations revealed little change from baseline for all lens types. At all visits through day 90, corneal staining was Grade 2 (mild) or less in all eyes except for one eye in the rewetter group. Overall, there were three reports from two subjects in the artificial tears group and two subjects in the lens rewetter group that reached Grade 3 for any slit lamp finding.

These findings would not be uncommon in any CL population of the study's size, regardless of eye drop or rewetter use or non-use, Dr. Vehige said.