Prospects for contact lens wear in aphakia


The success rate and complications for contact lens wear in 366 aphakic patients were evaluated retrospectively over a mean follow-up period of 36 months. Successful use of a daily wear contact lens (DWCL) was related to lens handling ability. In unilateral aphakia it was 86 per cent (161/187) for patients under 70 years old but only 27 per cent (19/70) for those over 70 years (p = <0.0001). This age related difference did not occur either for the use of a second lens, following successful use of a lens after the first cataract extraction, for which the overall success rate was 89 per cent (55/62) or for simultaneous bilateral lens fitting, which had a success rate of 81 per cent (38/47). Extended wear soft contact lenses (EWSCL) were fitted to patients unable to use DWCLs but only half were successful (21/40). There was no difference in the incidence of complications between daily wear soft and daily wear hard contact lenses or young (up to 44 years), middle aged (45-69 years) and elderly (over 70 years) patients, for the use of all DWCLs. However the risk of a serious complication was six times greater for patients using EWSCL (55 per cent) compared with those using DWCLs (8.8 per cent). DWCLs are a safe and successful method of aphakia correction for patients under 70 years of age. Once the ability to handle a DWCL has been learned, success is maintained when the second eye is fitted. EWSCLs have a high complication rate and a low success rate in patients unable to use DWCLs; other methods of aphakia correction should be considered first in this group.


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Correspondence to C M Graham or J K G Dart.

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Graham, C., Dart, J., Wilson-Holt, N. et al. Prospects for contact lens wear in aphakia. Eye 2, 48–55 (1988).

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