We studied the topographical, macrostructural, and fluorescein staining characteristics of papillary changes of the upper tarsal conjunctiva associated with the wearing of hydrophilic (soft) contact lenses. Fifty soft contact lens wearers with elevated conjunctival papillae greater than 0.3 mm in diameter were studied. Topographic characteristics recorded were distribution and number of papillae; macrostructural characteristics recorded were diameter and morphology of papillae. The information collected included age of patient, duration of lens wear, average daily time of wearing lens, presence or absence of itching or mucus, refractive status, and atopic history. Papillae were found in most cases in the conjunctival zone adjacent to the tarsal fold and were never found in the zone adjacent to the eyelid margin without also occurring in the intervening zone. The diameter of the papillae ranged from greater than 0.3 mm to 2.0 mm. The number of papillae per eyelid ranged from 4 to over 100. The apices of the papillae were frequently flattened, and these flattened surfaces frequently stained with fluorescein. The vascular supply of individual papillae was observed to radiate from a vessel occupying the central core of each papilla.
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