Contact lens intolerant allergy sufferers find relief

Wantagh, NY-Results of a multicenter, randomized, open-label study demonstrate that twice-daily epinastine HCl 0.05% ophthalmic solution (Elestat, Inspire Pharmaceuticals and Allergan) has significant value compared with use of rewetting drops only for improving comfort among allergy patients suffering with contact lens intolerance.

The study was conducted during the spring allergy season. It enrolled 149 patients with allergic conjunctivitis and properly fitting daily-wear lenses who were complaining about contact lens intolerance at a screening visit and continued to have problems after a 5- to 7-day run-in period using rewetting drops (Equate) twice daily.

Patients were randomly assigned to use epinastine twice daily with rewetting drops as needed or to twice-daily treatment with rewetting drops, with additional rewetting drops as needed. The patients in the epinastine group were directed to instill their anti-allergy treatment 15 minutes prior to contact lens insertion and again after removal.

Compared with rewetting drops, epinastine provided benefits for improving the duration of comfortable lens wear and total lens wearing time, ocular itching severity, overall eye comfort, and need for self-medication with rewetting drops, reported Jodi Luchs, MD, FACS. He is director, Department of Refractive Surgery, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, Great Neck, NY; assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York; and in private practice at South Shore Eye Care, Wantagh, NY.

Contact lens discomfort

"Reduced contact lens comfort can have detrimental effects on work performance, impair enjoyment of leisure time, interfere with the ability to perform activities of daily living, and reduce self-perception of appearance if patients switch from contact lens to spectacle wear," he added. "Therefore, clinicians should not overlook the potential for effective treatment of allergies that are causing contact lens intolerance to have important secondary benefits not measured in this study."