Skip to main content
Menu
Home » Eye Care Services » Your Eye Health » Eye Conditions » Corneal Neovascularization

Corneal Neovascularization

Corneal neo- (new) -vascularization (blood vessel growth), an in-growth of superficial or deep blood vessels into the cornea, is a sign of corneal oxygen deprivation and stress. This condition is most often associated with contact lens overwear. It can also be caused by toxic effects from lens or solutions, or traumatic causes such as damaged or heavily deposited lenses. It typically involves both eyes. Many cases of corneal neovascularization are asymptomatic, with some patients noticing redness around the cornea. Other symptoms include: eye pain, tearing and photophobia (light sensitivity), red redness, contact lens intolerance after a few hours of wear, and decreased vision.

Contact lens wear and corneal neovascularization

Most contact lenses interfere with oxygen transport to the cornea. The longer a lens is worn, the greater the risk for developing corneal hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the cornea), which induces metabolic changes in the corneal epithelium. In response to this oxygen depletion, blood vessels grow into the cornea in a dramatic attempt to help supply needed nutrients to the impoverished corneal tissues.

Prolonged lens wear (> 10hrs/day) carries a greater risk of corneal neovascularization than part-time wear, due to the continual presence of the lens on the eye. Increased blood vessel proliferation and redness are common findings in association with extended contact lens wear. Blood vessels extending beyond 2mm from the cornea margin, should be viewed with concern, as further progression can result in permanent contact lens intolerance and vision loss.

Management

Depending on the severity of the condition, the management differs. It may range from the reduction of wearing time by a few hours to a temporary cessation of lens wear. Adequate time out of lenses will facilitate the healing of decompensated tissues.

The following should be considered when treating corneal neovascularization:

  • Decrease wearing time
  • Refit into high oxygen transmissibility lens material (high DK material). New silicon hydrogel material is 5-7X more oxygen permeable compared to the traditional soft plastics (eg Acuvue2). It will stop the progression of neovascularization and maybe worn for up to 24hrs a day without complications.
  • Follow-up visits for progress check

Masks in Healthcare Facilities Update

MASKS ARE STILL REQUIRED FOR ALL HEALTHCARE FACILITIES

As the province moves towards relaxing mask mandates, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide clarification for the public health guidelines that will be in place.

According to the changes in regulation that will take place on March 21, 2022, masking requirements will be removed "in most places except public transit, long-term care, retirement homes and other health-care settings, shelters, jails and congregate care and living settings, including homes for individuals with developmental disabilities".

Clinics that provide healthcare services will still be required to adhere to the masking guidelines.