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January 1991

The Incidence of Ulcerative Keratitis Among Aphakic Contact Lens Wearers in New England

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston (Drs Glynn, Schein, Seddon, and Kenyon and Ms Shannon); and Abt Associates, Cambridge, Mass (Dr Poggio, Ms Goodfellow, and Mr Scardino). Dr Glynn is now with Brigham and Women's Hospital, Brookline, Mass.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1991;109(1):104-107. doi:10.1001/archopht.1991.01080010106041

• We conducted a population-based incidence study in five New England states to quantify the risk of ulcerative keratitis associated with contact lens use among aphakic persons. All practicing ophthalmologists in the five-state area were surveyed to identify prospectively all new cases of ulcerative keratitis during a 4-month period. The number of aphakic persons using specific types of contact lenses was estimated through a telephone survey of 4178 households identified by random digit dialing. The annualized incidence of ulcerative keratitis among aphakic persons using contact lenses was estimated to be 52 cases per 10 000 aphakic contact lens wearers (95% confidence interval (CI), 31.1 to 86.9). The risk of ulcerative keratitis varied substantially by lens use, with extended wear having an estimated seven-fold greater risk relative to daily wear (95% CI, 1.6 to 30.2). Rates of ulcerative keratitis in aphakic persons using contact lenses were much greater than rates among cosmetic wearers of the same lens type: for daily-wear lenses, aphakic persons were estimated to have 6.3 times the risk of cosmetic wearers (95% CI, 1.9 to 21.0), and for extended-wear lenses, aphakic persons were estimated to have 8.7 times the risk of cosmetic wearers (95% CI, 3.5 to 21.9). These risks are useful in assessing the benefits and risks of contact lens wear as an alternative to other methods of aphakic correction.