Contact lens wear and the diabetic corneal epithelium: A happy or disastrous marriage?

Katherine A. Bussan, Danielle M Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Diabetes mellitus is an epidemic in the US and abroad. With the advent of new contact lens technology, the use of contact lenses as glucose sensors in lieu of the traditional finger stick is quickly becoming realized. This has the potential to rapidly expand the contact lens market into this growing patient population. The independent cellular and physiological effects of contact lens wear and diabetes on the corneal epithelium have been described. However, little evidence exists to date to support whether there is increased risk associated with contact lens wear in diabetes. The focus of this review is to discuss what is known about the cellular effects of contact lenses on the corneal epithelium, the pathophysiological changes in the corneal epithelium that occur in diabetes, and whether an increased risk for corneal epithelial damage and/or infection may negatively impact safety in diabetic contact lens wearers. Available data indicates that there are inherent risks associated with contact lens wear in diabetics. Importantly, eye care practitioners fitting contact lenses in the diabetic patient need to carefully consider the duration of disease, the level of glycemic control, the presence of retinopathy, and the patient's overall health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Diabetes and Its Complications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Contact lens
  • Cornea
  • Diabetes
  • Epithelium
  • Infectious keratitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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