The impact of contact lenses on meibomian gland morphology
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Despite years of experience with contact lenses, controversy remains as to whether contact lenses adversely impact the meibomian glands (MG). This review summarizes the present body of evidence, showing that contact lens wear is associated with alterations in MG morphology (up to 80% higher gland atrophy compared to non-wearers) and qualitative changes in MG secretion. Key factors such as duration of contact lens wear, contact lens type (e.g., soft vs. rigid), edge design, and material modulus of elasticity are discussed in relation to the extent of MG morphological changes, the quality of MG secretion and other ocular surface parameters. Longitudinal studies of sufficient statistical power are needed to better understand how contact lens wear affects the MG, risk factors, and the clinical sequelae of these changes.
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