PURPOSE.: To prospectively investigate the effects of passive cigarette smoke exposure on the ocular surface and tear film in soft contact lens (SCL) wearers. METHODS.: Twelve right eyes of 12 SCL wearers without any ocular or systemic diseases and 10 right eyes of 10 subjects who never wore CLs were examined before and 2 h after 5 min of passive cigarette smoke exposure in a controlled smoke chamber. Tear evaporation rate measurement, tear film break-up time (TBUT) examination, ocular surface fluorescein, rose bengal stainings, and Schirmer I test were performed at each visit. RESULTS.: The mean tear evaporation rates, TBUTs, and vital staining scores were significantly worse in CL wearers compared with healthy control subjects. TBUTs showed significant worsening after passive smoke exposure in both groups. The mean tear evaporation rate and vital staining scores showed a significant increase with brief passive smoke exposure in subjects not wearing CLs but not in CL wearers. CONCLUSION.: Even brief passive exposure to cigarette smoke is associated with adverse effects on the ocular surface as evidenced by an increase in tear instability and damage to the ocular surface epithelia in SCL wearers and non-CL wearers.
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