METHODS: Thirty nine eyes of 39 new keratoconus patients were selected and randomly fitted with two types of RGP contact lenses. Group 1 had 21 eyes with regular rigid gas-permeable (RRGP) contact lens and rest 18 eyes were in group 2 with specially designed rigid gas-permeable (SRGP) contact lens. Corneal cell morphology was evaluated using a slit scanning confocal microscope at no-lens wear and after 1y of contact lens wearing.
RESULTS: After 1y of contact lens wearing in group 1, the mean anterior and posterior stromal keratocyte density were significantly less (P=0.006 and P=0.001, respectively) compared to no-lens wear. The mean cell area of anterior and posterior stromal keratocyte were also significantly different (P=0.005 and P=0.001) from no-lens wear. The anterior and posterior stromal haze increased by 18.74% and 23.81%, respectively after 1y of contact lens wearing. Whereas in group 2, statistically significant changes were observed only in cell density & area of anterior stroma (P=0.001 and P=0.001, respectively) after 1y. While, level of anterior and posterior stromal haze increased by 16.67% and 11.11% after 1y of contact lens wearing. Polymegathism and pleomorphism also increased after 1y of contact lens wearing in both the contact lens groups.
CONCLUSION: Confocal microscopy observation shows the significant alterations in corneal cell morphology of keratoconic corneas wearing contact lenses especially in group 1. The type of contact lens must be carefully selected to minimize changes in corneal cell morphology.