Ocular surface and tear film status among contact lens wearers and non-wearers who use VDT at work: comparing three different lens types

  • Ana Tauste
  • Elena Ronda
  • Valborg Baste
  • Magne Bråtveit
  • Bente E. Moen
  • María-del-Mar Seguí CrespoEmail author
Original Article



To analyze differences in the ocular surface appearance and tear film status of contact lens wearers and non-wearers in a group of visual display terminals (VDT) workers and additionally to assess differences between lens materials.


Cross-sectional study of 236 office workers, of whom 92 were contact lens wearers. Workers provided information on their contact lenses (conventional hydrogel, silicone hydrogel or rigid gas permeable lenses) and exposure to VDT at work. Ocular surface and tear film status were determined by the presence of bulbar, limbal and lid redness, lid roughness and corneal staining type, and by Schirmer’s and tear break-up time tests (TBUT). A generalized linear model was used to calculate the crude (cRR) and age- and sex-adjusted (aRR) relative risk to measure the association between ocular surface and tear film abnormalities and contact lens use and type.


The aRR of ocular surface abnormalities was higher in contact lens wearers compared to non-wearers: bulbar redness (aRR 1.69; 95% CI 1.25–2.30), limbal redness (aRR 2.87; 1.88–4.37), lid redness (aRR 2.53; 1.35–4.73) and lid roughness (aRR 7.03; 1.31–37.82). VDT exposure > 4 h/day increased wearers’ risk of limbal and lid redness. Conventional hydrogel wearers had the highest risk of ocular surface abnormalities, followed by silicone hydrogel wearers. Both contact and non-contact lens wearers had a high prevalence of altered TBUT (77.3 and 75.7% respectively) and Schirmer (51.8 and 41.3%).


Regular contact lens use during VDT exposure at work increases risk of bulbar, limbal and lid redness, and lid roughness, especially in soft contact lens wearers. The high prevalence of altered TBUT and Schirmer’s results in all participants suggests that VDT use greatly affects tear film characteristics.


Contact lenses Computer terminals Occupational exposure Anterior eye segment Conjunctiva Tears 



This work was supported by a grant to carry out Projects in Emerging Fields of Research of the University of Alicante (GRE11-22). The sponsor or funding organization had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

Compliance with ethical standards


This work was supported by a grant to carry out Projects in Emerging Fields of Research of the University of Alicante (GRE11-22). The sponsor or funding organization had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest and have no proprietary interest in any of the materials mentioned in this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Tauste
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elena Ronda
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Valborg Baste
    • 6
    • 7
  • Magne Bråtveit
    • 7
  • Bente E. Moen
    • 8
  • María-del-Mar Seguí Crespo
    • 1
    • 9
    Email author
  1. 1.Public Health Research GroupUniversity of AlicanteAlicanteSpain
  2. 2.Department of Ophthalmology (Qvision)Vithas Virgen del Mar HospitalAlmeríaSpain
  3. 3.Preventive Medicine and Public Health Area, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of AlicanteAlicanteSpain
  4. 4.CISAL (Centre for Research in Occupational Health)BarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.CIBERESP (Biomedical Research Networking Centre, Epidemiology and Public Health)MadridSpain
  6. 6.Uni Research HealthBergenNorway
  7. 7.Research Group for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Global Public Health and Primary CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  8. 8.Centre for International Health, Deparment of Public Health and Primary CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  9. 9.Department of Optics, Pharmacology and AnatomyUniversity of AlicanteAlicanteSpain

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