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October 1980

Mucus Secretory Vesicles in Conjunctival Epithelial Cells of Wearers of Contact Lenses

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, and the Department of Cornea Research, Eye Research Institute of Retina Foundation, Boston (Drs Greiner, Kenyon, and Allansmith); the Department of Anatomy, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta (Dr Weidman); and the Department of Ophthalmology, Ciudad Sanitaria, Principes de España, Barcelona, Spain (Dr Henriquez). Dr Korb is in private practice in Boston.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1980;98(10):1843-1846. doi:10.1001/archopht.1980.01020040695020

• Biopsy specimens from the upper tarsal conjunctivae of ten patients with clinically evident contact-lens-associated giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) and eight asymptomatic contact lens wearers without clinically evident conjunctival changes were compared by light and transmission electron microscopy to determine the contribution of nongoblet epithelial cells to increased mucus. A control group consisted of five subjects who had never worn contact lenses. The apical cytoplasm of superficial nongoblet epithelial cells in specimens from all groups showed single-membrane-limited vesicular inclusions that stained metachromatically with toluidine blue and were positive with PAS staining, which indicated mucoprotein content. Some vesicles appeared to discharge their contents into the conjunctival sac. More vesicles were found in the GPC subjects and the asymptomatic contact lens wearers than in the normal subjects. These observations, coupled with the sign of increased or excessive mucus discharge in GPC subjects and in asymptomatic lens wearers, support the premise that the superficial layers of nongoblet conjunctival epithelial cells can contribute to an increase in mucus production.

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