February 1991
Volume 32, Issue 2
Articles  |   February 1991
Contact lens-induced edema in vitro. Pharmacology and metabolic considerations.
Author Affiliations
  • J W Huff
    Department of Ophthalmology, Bethesda Eye Institute, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Missouri.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science February 1991, Vol.32, 346-353. doi:https://doi.org/
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      J W Huff; Contact lens-induced edema in vitro. Pharmacology and metabolic considerations.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1991;32(2):346-353. doi: https://doi.org/.

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The effects of physiologic and pharmacologic manipulations on contact lens-induced edema were studied. In isolated superfused rabbit corneas bathed in Ringer's solution and covered with large-diameter polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) lenses, corneal swelling rates of 17-26 microns/hr (versus -5-5 microns/hr in paired controls) were observed. Neither the calcium antagonist diltiazem (10(-4) M), the glucocorticoid dexamethasone (10(-7) M), the glucose substitute fructose (20 mM), nor 0.5 mM adenosine and 0.3 mM reduced glutathione mitigated the edema. Lens-induced edema was 25 microns/hr in corneas bathed at pH 8.2 and decreased to 9 microns/hr at pH 7.0. In corneas without lenses, however, decreasing the pH from 7.4-7.0 caused significant swelling (P less than 0.05). The pyruvate dehydrogenase stimulant sodium dichloroacetate (3.2 mM) on the tears side ameliorated the edema, and its congener, 3.2 mM 2-chloropropionate, was less effective. These latter agents are known to relieve lactic acidosis systemically and had no significant effect on corneas without lenses. In tissues bathed with 20 mM lactate Ringer's, normal thickness was maintained in both control and PMMA-treated corneas throughout the 3-hr period. These findings suggest that the contact lens-induced edema does not involve the acute cytotoxic mechanisms seen in severe tissue ischemia or hypoxia. The edema appears to result in part from acidosis but mainly from stromal lactate accumulation.


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