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Cosmetic Contact Lens-Related Corneal Infections in Asia

Published:March 13, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2021.03.005

      Purpose

      To explore demographics, disease characteristics, and wear habits in cosmetic contact lens (CL)-related corneal infections in Asia.

      Design

      Prospective multicenter cross-sectional study.

      Methods

      Cases of CL-related corneal infection presenting over a 12-month period were prospectively identified from 11 centers in 8 countries in Asia. Case demographics, clinical features, microbiology, and compliance characteristics were compared between wearers using CLs for cosmetic purposes and those using CLs for the correction of refractive errors.

      Results

      Six hundred and ninety-four CL wearers with corneal infection presented: 204 cosmetic CL (29.4%) and 490 (70.6%) refractive CL wearers. Cosmetic CL infections comprised 7%-54% of cases across the region. Compared with noncosmetic CL wearers, cosmetic CLs wearers were significantly more likely to be female (90% vs 59%), young (aged <25, 68% vs 44%), and to have a shorter period of wear experience. Lenses worn by cosmetic CL wearers were more likely to be hydrogel materials and manufactured with the pigment located on the back surface of the CL. Presenting disease characteristics and visual outcomes were similar in both groups. Causative organisms were similar between the 2 groups; however, there was a higher rate of Acanthamoeba disease (9%) in cosmetic wearers, compared with refractive wearers (1%; P < .005).

      Conclusions

      Cosmetic CL infections represent a significant proportion of CL-related infections in Asia. Cosmetic CL users with corneal infections are generally young, female, and wearing hydrogel CLs. Internet supply, quality control, and regulation of the sale of these products provide significant challenges in managing this population of vulnerable wearers.
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