Contact lens induced keratopathy: a severe complication extending the spectrum of keratoconjunctivitis in contact lens wearers.


A 21-year-old woman developed bilateral keratoconjunctivitis from contact lens wear, which progressed to diffuse corneal scarring and vascularization after the patient refused to discontinue wearing contact lenses. The visual disturbance became so severe that a penetrating keratoplasty had to be performed in one eye for visual rehabilitation. Examination of the penetrating keratoplasty specimen disclosed destruction of Bowman's membrane throughout the superior half of the cornea, which was replaced by a fibrous scar that was only midly chronically inflamed. Deep vascularization occurred within the stroma. This case represents an extreme expression of a recently characterized syndrome consisting of conjunctival and corneal changes in patients who may be allergic to contact lenses or the solutions used in conjunction with their care. In the milder end of the spectrum, there is superior epibulbar conjunctival injection with associated tarsal injection, and a mild superficial punctate keratopathy without filaments. Some earlier workers have termed this syndrome a variant of superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis in association with contact lens wear, but this leads to confusion with Theodore's classical superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis, to which the present entity bears no etiologic relationship; it also fails to show many of the findings of Theodore's disease. In mild cases, we would recommend the term contact lens-induced keratoconjunctivitis, and in the more severe cases, such as demonstrated by our patient, we would suggest the term contact lens-induced keratopathy.


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