Castroviejo lecture 2009: 40 years in search of the perfect contact lens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify the pathophysiological changes produced by contact lens wear that predispose the cornea to infection and search for prospective modifiable risk factors that could reduce the incidence of this critical complication in millions of patients worldwide. Methods: Significant experimental and clinical publications are reviewed, and the results of ongoing studies are presented. Results: Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) is the most common pathogen causing lens-related infectious keratitis over 3 decades. Contact lens wear can increase the risk of infection by increasing surface cell PA binding, thereby promoting invasion between broken tight junctions and initiating direct intracellular invasion mediated by lens-induced membrane lipid rafts. Prevention of upregulation of specific surface-binding receptors for PA with concomitant increase in infection risk is a zero damage game where independent interactions among lens type, mode of wear, oxygen transmissibility, polymer, and toxic effects of associated care solutions ideally should collectively produce no increased ability for PA to attach and/or to invade, thus minimizing the risk for lens-associated infections. The specific hypothesis tested is, "no increased epithelial surface increased PA binding or increased risk for infection." Testing of this new paradigm has been performed in vitro and in animal and human clinical trials and correlated clinically with relative risk results from robust current epidemiological studies. Results to date clearly support the use of lens-related increases in PA binding (bench) as a noninvasive clinical predictor of risk for lens-related infection in subsequent large-scale population studies (bedside). Currently, results suggest that use of common commercial multipurpose lens care solutions with soft lenses may alone significantly increase infection risk by enhancing lens-related PA binding as compared with use of nonpreserved solutions (hydrogen peroxide). Clinical testing also shows that only peroxide solutions show significant disinfection capability against amoebic cysts. Further case-control studies to examine relative risk for infection by lens type and lens care solution are urgently needed. Conclusions: Millions of patients are dependent on contact lenses for vision worldwide; over 3 decades, lens use has increased, although risk for lens-related infection has remained stubbornly unchanged. Unfortunately, recent introduction of a new generation of hyper-oxygen transmissible lenses used with traditional multipurpose lens care solutions has not lowered overall risks for lens-related infections; however, similar lenses used with nonpreserved care solutions (peroxide) recently demonstrated no significant increases in PA binding in a 1-year clinical trial. Collectively, these findings along with the urgent need for amoebic cysticidal disinfection have led to a current recommendation to patients to use nonpreserved (hydrogen peroxide) care solutions in soft lens wear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1085
Number of pages11
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Contact lens
  • Pseudomonas
  • corneal epithelium
  • corneal infection
  • hypoxia
  • lens care solutions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'Castroviejo lecture 2009: 40 years in search of the perfect contact lens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this