The main purpose of this study was to determine whether two interventions (rinsing the lens before lens insertion and rinsing the ocular surface post-lens removal) had any impact on solution-induced corneal staining (SICS). In addition, the presence of hyper-reflective epithelial cells in the presence of SICS was investigated.
Twenty subjects wore new balafilcon A lenses, which had been soaked overnight in a multipurpose care product containing polyhexamethylene biguanide for 2 hours. The study was conducted across three phases. In phase 1 (investigator and subject masked, randomized eye), one lens was rinsed with nonpreserved saline before lens insertion. In phase 2 (investigator masked, randomized eye), one eye was rinsed with nonpreserved saline after lens removal, before staining assessment. Corneal staining was recorded as the percentage area of the cornea exhibiting superficial punctate staining. In both phases, ocular comfort and presence of specific symptoms were captured. In phase 3, there was no randomized treatment; confocal images of the epithelium were obtained after 2 hours of wear.
In phase 1 (lens-rinse), there was no significant difference in staining between the treated and untreated eyes (84 vs. 92%, respectively; p = 0.06). In phase 2 (eye-rinse), there was also no significant difference between the treated and untreated eye (86 vs. 86%, p = 0.92). Most subjects were asymptomatic. In phase 3, images of hyper-reflective cells were captured in 97% of the eyes imaged.
The two rinsing procedures did not affect the level of the SICS response. Hyper-reflective epithelial cells were found to be present in a significant number of eyes exhibiting SICS, and their presence warrants further investigation.