Thirty years of ‘quiet eye’ with etafilcon A contact lenses
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Frequent replacement contact lenses made from the etafilcon A hydrogel lens material were introduced onto the market over 30 years ago, and etafilcon A remains the most widely used hydrogel lens material today. Although the prescribing of silicone hydrogel lenses is increasing, millions of lens wearers globally have been wearing hydrogel lenses for many years and exhibit a physiologically-stable 'quiet eye', with a low profile of adverse events. Hydrogel lenses are demonstrated to maintain a low inflammatory response and infection risk profile during daily wear, which in the case of etafilcon A, may be related to its low modulus, and the naturally-protective, anti-microbial, non-denatured lysozyme absorbed into the lens from the tear fluid. Although improved corneal physiology from decreased hypoxia with silicone hydrogel lenses is well accepted, equivalent levels of corneal oxygenation are maintained during daily wear of low to medium powered hydrogel lenses, which do not impede the daily corneal de-swelling process, and do not induce clinically significant changes in ocular health. Therefore, hydrogel lenses remain an important alternative for daily wear in modern contact lens practice.
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