• Users Online: 3481
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

   Table of Contents      
Year : 1990  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27-29

Pitfalls in aphakic contact lens fitting

R.P. Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, New Delhi-110 029, India

Correspondence Address:
Vijay K Dada
R.P. Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, New Delhi-110 029
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 2365433

Rights and PermissionsRights and Permissions

We examined 23 consecutive cases of unilateral aphakia reporting to the contact lens office for endothelial count and morphology, corneal thickness and toricity. The fellow eye served as a control in all the cases. It was found that there is a significant drop in the central endothelial cell density, and change in the size and shape of the cells. These observations indicate a thermodynamically unstable state. The aphakic corneas were thicker than the controls but not to a significant extent. The cell count and pachymetry had no statistical correlation. Toricity of the aphakic corneas make successful fitting of a lens difficult. Since prolonged use of extended wear gas permeable as well as hydrogel lenses have a deleterious effect on the endothelium it is suggested that a careful case selection be made and strict monitoting carried out at follow up. These corneas are liable for decompensation with only mild noxious stimuli. This article is intended to acquaint the ophthalmologist with the pitfalls in aphakic contact lens fitting so that a cautious follow up may be planned.

How to cite this article:
Dada VK, Mehta MR, Jain AK. Pitfalls in aphakic contact lens fitting. Indian J Ophthalmol 1990;38:27-9

How to cite this URL:
Dada VK, Mehta MR, Jain AK. Pitfalls in aphakic contact lens fitting. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1990 [cited 2022 Sep 30];38:27-9. Available from: https://www.ijo.in/text.asp?1990/38/1/27/24552

Click here to view

Click here to view

Click here to view

Click here to view

Click here to view

Click here to view

  Introduction Top

Unilateral aphakia is an important indication for contact lens wherever a primary or secondary IOL is not consid­ered appropriate. The anatomy as well as the physiology of the cornea in aphakia is altered to a significant extent. There are metabolic differences between the corneas of the normal and the aphakic eyes resulting in a differential response to the hypoxic stress. The present investiga­tion was devised to highlight the pitfalls in fitting aphakic contact lenses, help the practitioner in a proper subject selection, and devise a follow up strategy. The normal fellow eye was used as a control.


23 consecutive patients with unilateral aphakia referred to the contact lens clinic were included in the study. Details of the surgical procedure carried out were re­corded alongwith the time lapse since surgery. A com­plete slit lamp examination was carried out on both the eyes. Keratometry was performed using a Javal Schiotz keratometer. Pre-fit endothelial microscopy and digital pachymetry were obtained using a Nikon Endothelial Camera in the test as well as the control eye. The central endothelial cells were analysed. The [Table - 1],[Table - 2][Table - 3] give the relevant clinical data on the patients for the central endothelial cell count fixed frame analysis that was carried out. For pleomorphism and polymegathism the pictures were compared with the normal standard pic­tures for matched age and sex. The patients were prescribed `gas permeable' (XL 30) siliconeacrylate contact lenses after finalizing the base curve on the basis of flourescein pattern. All the lenses were lenticular.

  Results Top

12 patients in our study were less than 20 years of age, 6 between 20 years to 40 years and 5 above 40 year of age. The patients were put into three groups for analy­sis. These groups were not statistically comparable in any way. In group I, 6 eyes had congenital cataract while the other 6 had traumatic cataract. Pars plana lensec­tomy was the preferred surgery in traumatic cases while needling and aspiration in the congenital cataract cases. Average central endothelial count in the control eyes was 2400mm 2±256 while in the aphakic eyes it was 1900 mm 2±417.8 which is statistically significant. The morphological changes observed were polymegathism and plemorphism predominently. The average pachymetry in the aphakic group was 0.52mm±0.047 in the control group. The average astigmatism found in aphakia was 2.2 Dioptres ± 2.2 with a range of, 1 to 7 dioptres. The control group had an astigmation of 1.1 D ± 0.54. This difference in astigmatism has only a weak statistical significance.

In group II the average central endothelial count was 2083 ± 147 in the controls and 1400 ± 502 in the aphakic eyes. The morphological changes were identical to those found in group 1. The average pachometry for the controls was 0.49 mm ± 0.03 and for aphakia 0.53mm ± 0.05 which had a slight statistical significance. Astigma­tism in the aphakic group was 4.6 ± 4.2 with a range of 2 to 10 dioptres. The control group had an average of 1.5D.

In group III the average endothelial count was 2020 ± 491 in the control and 415 in the aphakes. The morpho­logical changes were predominantly pleomorphism polymegathism and the presence of pigments. The average pachymetry was 0.50mm ± 0.02 and 0.52mm ± 0.01 respectively in the controls and aphakics. Astigmatism in aphakic eyes was of the order of 1.25D ± 0.64 and in the controls 0.66D + 0.28.

  Discussion Top

The unilateral aphakes form a very diverse group. Each patient has to be tackled individually because of his or her unique problem. The aphakic cornea presents sev­eral peculiarities that may affect the successful wear of contact lenses, hydrogel as well as gas permeable hard lenses. The corneal endothelium which is normally a monolayer of hexagonal cells of uniform shape and size undergoes changes as a result of the surgical interven­tion or a preceding trauma that leads to a cataract. It has been observed that polymegathism [2] as well as pleomor­phism [3],[4],[5] are sensitive indicators of the health of the corneal endothelium.

Pleomorphism is now given an equal importance as it indicates a stress condition. It is thermodynamically more unstable when compared to the normal hexagonal pattern. A number of clinical states are found to have an association with pelomorphism [3],[4],[6],[7]. Apart from the morphological changes a drop in the density of the endo­thelial cells is also observed [8],[9][10].Both these changes have an effect on the deturgesence of corneal [11]. A low count and a stressed functional state can lead to corneal decompensation in the form of bullous keratopathy. The aphakic corneas swell less as compared to the normal eyes when fitted with identical hydrogel lenses. Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain this phenomenon [12],[13].The aphakic corneas respond better to hypoxic stimuli but it should be remembered that after surgery there is a gradual drop in the density of the endothelial cell. With the use of gas permeable hard as well as soft contact lenses a significant endothelial pleomorphism and polymegathism may occur which are not completely reversible, and are more profound, with the greater duration of use [15]. The patients to start with have a compromised cornea, and therefore require a strict monitoring during follow up.

The corneal surface assumes toricity of varying degrees depending upon surgical technique and gauge of suture used [16],[17],[18],[19].In our study the range of astigmatism varied widely. With hydrogel lenses it is important to prescribe a cylinder in a frame. With gas permeable hard lenses it is not possible to neutralize a cylinder of more than 3 dioptres. The cases with greater than 3 dioptres of astigmatism are not suitable for gas permeable hard lenses.

The aphakic corneas were thicker when compared to the controls but the difference was only slightly statistically significant. There was no correlation between the count and the thickness. This is in agreement with other authors.

The aphakic cornea is less sensitive and hence more prone to minor traumas and infections. Attention must be paid to the contact lens accessories used by the pa­tients; lens cases, solutions etc. as they may be acting as a storehouse of infection for these devitalized corneas [23],[24],25.

The aphakic contact lens fitting should be carried out under strict supervision. The patients should be followed up more frequently and examined thoroughly. Clear instructions should be issued to the patients regarding the handling of the lenses and aseptic methods. The challenge to develop a gas permeable polymer suited to the contact lens design in aphakia is very much open in the present state of technology. Till such times as the newer materials are introduced, a vigil must be kept during the follow up visit for any physiological decom­pensation.

  References Top

Holden BA, Mertz GW, Guillon M Corneal swelling response of the aphakic eye. Invest. Opthalmol Visual Sci 1980:19:1394-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Rao, GN, Aquavella JV, Goldberg SH and Berk, SL Pseudophakic. Bullous keratopathy. Relationship to pre-operative corneal endothelial status. Oph­thalmology 91:1135 (1984).  Back to cited text no. 2
Matsuda, M, Suda T and Manabe R. Quantitative analysis of endothelial mosaic pattern changes in anterior aeratoconus. Am J. Ophthalmol 98:43, 1984.  Back to cited text no. 3
Shultz, RO, Matsuda M, Xee RW, Edelhauser HF and Schultz KJ: Corneal endothelial changes in Type 1 & Type 1 & Type II Diabetes Mellitis. Am J. Oph­thalmol 98:401, 1984.  Back to cited text no. 4
Glasser DB, Matsuda M, Ellis JG and Edelhauser HF: Effects of intraocular irrigating Solutions on the corneal endothelium after in vivo anterior chamber Irrigation. Am J Ophthalmol 99:321, 1985.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kara V, Matsumarra S, Takise S, Hariguchi S and Matsuda M: Morphological changes in the corneal endothelium due to ultra violet Radiation in Welders.Br J Ophthalmol 65: 544, 1984.  Back to cited text no. 6
Matsuda, M, Suda T and Manabe R. Serial alterations in endothelial cell shape and pattern after intra ocular surgery. Am J Ophthalmol 98:313. 1984.  Back to cited text no. 7
Thomas Olsen: Corneal thickness and endothelial damage after intra capsular cataract extraction. Acta Ophthalmol 58:424, 1980.  Back to cited text no. 8
Sugar, A:- Clinical specular microscopy. Surv Ophthalmol 24:21, 1979.  Back to cited text no. 9
Irvine AR, Kratzy RP O' Donnel JJ Endothelial damage with phacoemulisifi­cation. Arch-Ophthalmol 96:1023, 1978.  Back to cited text no. 10
Rao GN, Shaw EL. Arthur E and Aquavella:Endothelial cell morphology and corneal deturgescence Ann Ophthalmol 11:885-899, 1979.  Back to cited text no. 11
Fatt I, Chaston KJ: Reflections on corneal oedema, J Br Contact Lens Assoc 1981:4:66-71.  Back to cited text no. 12
Collier E. The Lens, Adlers Physiology of the Eye. St Louis:- Mosby 1975:277.   Back to cited text no. 13
Cazey TA & Mayer D.J. Corneal grafting. Principles and Practice. We Saunders Co.. 1984.  Back to cited text no. 14
Mac Rae, S.M. Matsuda M, Shellans S, Rich LF: The effects of hard & soft contact lenses on the corneal endothelium Am J Ophthalmol, 102:50-57,1986.   Back to cited text no. 15
Rowan. PJ:Corneal astigmatism following cataract surgery BV.I Ophthalmol, 68:97-104,1984.  Back to cited text no. 16
Rij G.V., Warring G.O.: Changes in corneal curvatures induced by sutures and incisions. Am J Ophthalmol 95, 773-783,1984.  Back to cited text no. 17
Jaffe NS: Cataract surgery and its complications IV edition. The CV Mosby company, ST Louis. Toronto, Princeton, 1984,  Back to cited text no. 18
Bourne WM & Kaufman AE: The Endothelium of clear normal transplants: Arch Ophthalmol. 82:44,1976.  Back to cited text no. 19
Laing RA, Sandstrom MN,Berrospi AR. and Leibowitz. HM Morphological changes in corrneal endothelial cells after penetrating keratoplasty.. Am J Ophthalmol 82:459,1976.  Back to cited text no. 20
Guillon M, Morris JA: Corneal Evaluation of prospective aphakic wearer of contact lenses. Br J Ophathalmol 66:520-523, 1982.  Back to cited text no. 21
Mehta. M.R. Dada VK, Mohan M. Epitheliotoxicity of contact lens solutions: An experiment study on rabbit cornea using SEM. Acta XXV Concilium Ophthal­mologium P.P. 840-845  Back to cited text no. 22
Dada VK, Mehta MR, Mohan M. Microbiological hazards of contact lens solutions. Acta XXV Concilium Ophthalmolgium P.P. 810-813.  Back to cited text no. 23
Dada VK,Mehta MR, Sterilization potential of contact lens solutions. Ind J Ophthalmol Vol 36, No.2, 1988, 92-94  Back to cited text no. 24


  [Table - 1], [Table - 2], [Table - 3]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded0    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal