Contact lenses are a popular and frequently used mode of correcting refractive error and are occasionally used to treat diseased and degenerative processes. As both Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) and Soft Contact Lenses (SCL) lie directly on the cornea buffered only by the tear layer. it is the cornea that shows the first signs of adverse effects of contact lens wear. Contact lenses can affect the cornea both mechanically, due to their physical presence on the eye, as well as indirectly through interference with the normal physiology of the cornea. As the mode of contact lens wear increases through new materials and designs, so too do the needs of the patient. The population trend is moving toward the older patient and this group of patients are less tolerant to mild corneal hypoxia and mechanical trauma than the younger population. At the same time, as their corneal topography and physiology is more fragile, there is an increased need for thicker contact lenses (e.g. bifocal lenses). With this situation, the early detection of contact lens complications is critical in order to preserve a healthy visual system. A good patient evaluation assessing the ocular health. combined with strong patient motivation is the first step in successful contact lens wear. Secondly. a thorough knowledge of materials, lens design, fits and care solutions also contribute to successful long term contact lens wear. Once a patient has been fitted with their lenses, the recognition of early contact lens complications is essential. The earlier the identification and correct treatment is undertaken, the better the prognosis for continued success in contact lens wear. Optometry students and new practitioners (who may have had little experience with contact lens complications). often find it difficult to correctly identify the problems and implement the correct treatment. This thesis was developed to provide a pictorial reference guide with an accompanying written identification and treatment guideline for eight of the most common contact lens complications. The early identification. and implementation of appropriate treatment will usually stop the progression of the corneal/lid problem. preserving and/ or re-establishing a healthy ocular system. while still maintaining good visual acuity. Successful treatment of contact lens associated ocular problems can lead to continued healthy contact lens wear by the patient.
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