To assess the impact of daily disposable soft contact lenses on meibomian gland morphology over a period of 12 months.
Forty-one subjects (33 experienced and 8 neophytes) were fitted with either silicone-hydrogel or hydrogel daily contact lenses. The study protocol included four visits: baseline, day-2 for contact lens fit and follow-up measurements, as well as after 6 and 12 months of lens wear. Non-contact infrared meibography images were acquired with Keratograph 5M topographer ( and analysed with an automated method, which objectively estimates the area of gland atrophy, gland length and width, number of glands and gland irregularity. Protocol at follow-up visits also included symptom assessment with the Ocular Surface Disease Index and clinical assessment of tear meniscus height, bulbar and limbal redness, tear osmolarity, non-invasive fluorescein break-up time and ocular surface staining.
Statistically significant differences were found in gland atrophy (p = 0.02) and length (p = 0.008) between experienced and novel contact lens wearers at the baseline visit. Changes over time (after 6 and 12 months) were found in gland atrophy (p = 0.02) and the number of glands (p = 0.01) in subjects fitted with hydrogel contact lenses. Changes in gland atrophy between baseline and 12 months of lens wear correlated with changes in corneal staining (r = 0.40, p = 0.03) and fluorescein break-up time in subjects fitted with silicone-hydrogel lenses (r = 1-0.43, p = 0.02).
Contact lens wear impacts meibomian gland morphology. However, changes are either long-term or characteristic to an early phase. Subjects with no history of contact lens wear exhibit better meibomian gland condition than experienced wearers. During one year of contact lens wear, meibomian gland morphology changes in subjects wearing daily disposable hydrogel lenses.

© 2020 The Authors Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics © 2020 The College of Optometrists.