The oxygen performance of a contact lens on the human eye.
There is considerable evidence to indicate that most gas permeable contact lenses do not transmit sufficient oxygen to supply all the corneal oxygen requirement. This problem is further exacerbated by non-valid methods of characterizing the oxygen performance of such lenses. The current methods of using oxygen permeability (Dk) and oxygen transmissibility (Dk/L) as indices of oxygen performance of contact lenses is completely erroneous. Dk and Dk/L pertain to contact lens materials in flat sheet form having uniform thickness and equal diffusion path at all points on the surface. Finished contact lenses, of necessity, are curved surfaces and of varying thickness. Consequently the concept of Dk and Dk/L cannot be applied to contact lenses. To date there are no studies to determine the absolute oxygen tension under gas permeable contact lenses on the human eye. All attempts to quantify the oxygen tension under a lens have been by indirect methods or by predicting the p02 from Dk values, using mathematical equations. These results do not match the clinical findings. This study was done to show that oxygen flux through a contact lens, measured in vitro, is a better determinant of the in vivo oxygen performance of gas permeable contact lenses. A special cell was designed to measure the oxygen flux, in vitro under standardised conditions. Contact lens microelectrodes were designed to measure the oxygen tension in vivo. The data obtainedwas used to develop a model for the oxygen performance of rigid gas permeable lenses on the human eye.