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Contact lens discomfort: What is it, why does it occur and how can it be treated?

Workshop report offers framework for getting answers

Contact lens discomfort (CLD) may be the leading cause of patient dissatisfaction with, and discontinuation of, contact lens wear throughout the world — but there is little agreement among vision researchers and eye care professionals about how to define and manage its causes.

"Up to half of all contact lens wearers experience CLD," explained Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, Professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry. "However, there is no global consensus concerning the definition, classification, epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, management and the proper design of clinical studies for CLD."

To lay the groundwork for defining and treating this widespread issue, the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS; organized the TFOS International Workshop on Contact Lens Discomfort (CLD), which was chaired by Nichols. The findings were reported Friday in the current issue of journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.

The CLD Workshop took 18 months to complete and involved 79 experts from around the world. "Workshop participants used an evidence-based approach and a process of open communication, dialogue, and transparency in order to achieve a global consensus concerning multiple aspects of CLD," noted Mark Willcox, PhD, FBCLA, FAAO, MASM, Professor, School of Optometry & Vision Science, University of New South Wales, and Vice-Chair of the Workshop.

"This TFOS report will significantly increase awareness of factors that may, and may not, contribute to the generation of CLD. Ideally, this TFOS report will stimulate innovative research in this very important field," commented David A. Sullivan, MS, PhD, FARVO,

Founder and recent past TFOS President, Senior Scientist, Schepens Eye Research Institute/Harvard Medical School and Organizer of the TFOS CLD Workshop.

The TFOS International Workshop on Contact Lens Discomfort Report is freely available to scientists and clinicians worldwide. Complete or partial translations of the report will be offered in numerous languages.

Interviews can be scheduled by emailing Amy Gallant Sullivan:

About the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society

Founded in 2000, The Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) is a world leader in eye health education headquartered in Boston that's dedicated to advancing the research, literacy and educational aspects of the scientific field of the eye's surface. The TFOS network includes basic scientists, academic clinicians and industry representatives originating from more than 80 countries. The society has published The TFOS International Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS 2007), The TFOS International Report on Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD 2011) and the TFOS International Workshop on Contact Lens Discomfort (CLD 2013). More information about TFOS and these reports are available at

Please note: TFOS received support for this Workshop from Alcon, Allergan, Bausch & Lomb, Santen, Menicon, Vistakon, Laboratoies Théa, Optima Pharmazeutische, OCULUS, CooperVision and Contact Lens Spectrum.

About IOVS

The peer-reviewed journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) publishes results from original hypothesis-based clinical and laboratory research studies, as well as Reviews, Perspectives, and Special Issues. IOVS 2012 Impact Factor ranks No. 5 out of 58 among ophthalmology journals. The journal is online-only and articles are published daily. IOVS is published by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include more than 12,000 eye and vision researchers from over 80 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders.

Amy Gallant Sullivan | EurekAlert!
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